Welsh National Opera Announce Autumn Season - Les Miserables Creative Team Reunite

Award winning West End team 
bring opera’s greatest villain to life 

Three members of the multi award-winning creative team behind the smash hit West End musical Les Misérables are working on WNO’s new production of Don Giovanni this autumn.

Co-director and adapter of the musical John Caird, designer John Napier and lighting designer David Hersey have been re-united on WNO’s latest production which will open at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 16th September before touring to Liverpool, Swansea, Llandudno, Bristol, Birmingham, Oxford and Southampton.

John Caird is directing his third opera for WNO, Don Carlos and Aida have both been critically acclaimed. He says Don Giovanni is a powerful piece: “Mozart’s dark masterpiece is a complex study in sexual obsession and the exercise of power, the greatest and darkest of the three Mozart/da Ponte collaborations.

Don Giovanni
“My designer John Napier and I have worked on creating a sculptured world of dark intensity as a backdrop for these profound human dramas. Just as the obsessive collector of art may be completely unaware of the pain and hardship endured by the artist, so the obsessive collector of women is unaware of the desperation and loneliness he leaves in his wake.

The most compelling irony of this story is that while the statue of the slaughtered Commendatore comes to life, his human heart is still beating after death. The living Giovanni, tragically unmoved by the plight of others, slowly turns his own heart into stone.”

Realising this world is former sculptor-turned-designer John Napier. John, who designed Cats, Starlight Express, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard for the West End, makes his WNO debut with Don Giovanni. His opera work includes Lohengrin and Macbeth for the Royal Opera House, Idomeneo for Glyndebourne and Nabucco for the Metropolitan Opera.

David Kempster returns to WNO in his Mozart debut as Don Giovanni. Camilla Roberts is Donna Anna, David Soar Leporello. Italian bass Carlo Malinverno, who made his WNO debut in the summer season as Timur in Turandot, is Commendatore. Nuccia Focile returns as Donna Elvira, Claire Ormshaw as Zerlina and Gary Griffiths as Masetto. Lothar Koenigs conducts in Cardiff, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham and Oxford with James Southall conducting in Swansea, Llandudno and Southampton.

The Barber of Seville
photo by Johan Persson
Eric Roberts is back at WNO as Bartolo in Rossini’s comic masterpiece The Barber of Seville. This revival of Giles Havergal’s much loved production also sees the return of South African baritone Jacques Imbrailo who last performed for the Company in The Marriage of Figaro in 2009. Christine Rice will sing Rosina with Patrica Orr taking over the role for performances in Liverpool. Clive Bayley is Basilio. Clive will also be performing Dikoy in this season’s revival of Katya Kabanova. Alexander Polianichko will conduct the opera for the first time with Simon Phillippo conducting in Bristol, Birmingham, Oxford and Southampton. The Barber of Seville will be sung in English.

Photo by Clive Barda
Katie Mitchell’s 1950s set Katya Kabanova was described as “a triumph” by the Sunday Telegraph when it premiered in Cardiff in 2001. This revival will see Amanda Roocroft as the trapped and bullied Katerina yearning to break free of her life in a stultifying village. The cast includes Peter Wedd as Boris Grigorievich, Welsh mezzo soprano Leah-Marian Jones as Kabanicha and Andrew Rees as Vanya Kudrjash. Patricia Orr will sing Varvara and Stephen Rooke Tikhon Ivanich Kabanov. Katya Kabanova will see Lothar Koenigs conduct his first Janáček opera for WNO with Gareth Jones taking over the baton in Llandudno and Southampton. This production will be sung in Czech.

Lothar Koenigs will conduct the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera at St David’s Hall in Cardiff on 28th October as part of the popular International Concert Series. Soloists Sarah Connolly, Laura Mitchell and David Soar will also perform in the programme which features Kindertotenlieder; Schonberg’s Survivor from Warsaw and Brahms Requiem.