WNO marks 75th birthday with star-studded poem

The Welsh National Opera is marking its 75th birthday with a specially commissioned poem by the national poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn.

Two versions of Intermezzo — one in English and one in Welsh — have been written, recorded and released as films. Stars involved include bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel and harpist Catrin Finch as well as sporting figures Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson and Sir Gareth Edwards.

Participant Tanni Grey Thompson © Alex Metcalfe
Participant Tanni Grey Thompson © Alex Metcalfe

The poem reflects on the WNO’s history, as well as the current situation faced by all arts organisations.

WNO General Director Aidan Lang said: “We are delighted to share Intermezzo on the occasion of our 75th birthday and offer our heartfelt thanks to Wales’ National Poet Ifor ap Glyn for encapsulating WNO’s story in such a fitting way. We would also like to thank all those involved in the recordings for their time and support in helping us to produce these special films.

“The pandemic is proving to be a difficult time for everyone and for the arts as a whole, but we must remember that WNO first emerged during a global crisis; World War II. The spirit and vision of [founder] Idloes Owen lives on through the Company, and we remain confident that we will come out of this crisis stronger and look to the future with hope and optimism. The poem [is] a celebration of Wales’ heritage as the land of song and a reflection on the importance of music and the arts to all of our lives”.

Intermezzo is available to view on the WNO website.