Bryn Terfel, Michelle DeYoung & Mark S. Doss Headline Welsh National Opera’s 2019-20 Season

By Nicole Kuchta

The Welsh National Opera has announced its 2019-20 season, which is set to include two new productions and three revivals. The season will run from Sept. 21, 2019 through May 9, 2020.

WNO’s season begins with a new production of Bizet’s “Carmen.” The autumn cast will star Virginie Verrez in the title role, Dimitri Pittas as Don José, Phillip Rhodes as Escamillo, Anita Watson as Micaëla, Ross Ramgobin as Moralès, Harriet Eyley as Frasquita, and Angela Simkin as Mercédès. The spring cast will feature Julia Mintzer as Carmen, Peter Auty as Don José, and Giorgio Caoduro as Escamillo. Jo Davies will direct, and Music Director Tomáš Hanus will conduct. Davies “takes the fiery spirit of ‘Carmen’ to a Latin American setting in her new production that celebrates female strength in the face of oppression.”

Performance Dates: Sept. 21, 2019 – May 7, 2020

James Macdonald’s 2010 production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” will be revived, featuring Mark S. Doss in the title role, sopranos Marina Monzó (at Cardiff) and Jessica Nuccio  as Gilda, David Junghoon Kim as The Duke, Eddie Wade as Monterone, James Platt and Wojtek Gierlach as Sparafucile, and Emma Carrington as Maddalena. Alexander Joel will conduct.

Performance Dates: Sept. 27 – Nov. 30, 2019

The cast of Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Vixen,” directed by David Pountney and last performed in 2013, will include Aoife Miskelly as Vixen, Claudio Otelli as Forester, Lucia Cervoni as Fox, David Stout as Poacher, Peter Van Hulle as Schoolmaster, and Wijtek Gierlach as Parson. Tomáš Hanus, recently awarded the Leoš Janáček Memorial Medal, will conduct. This will be the first in a series of Janáček’s operas to be performed at WNO each autumn in celebration of his works.

Performance Dates: Oct. 5 – Nov. 28, 2019

A new production of “Les vêpres siciliennes” will complete WNO’s Verdi trilogy. Anush Hovhannisyan will sing La Duchesse Hélène, and Jung Soo Yun will sing Henri. Rounding out the cast are Giorgio Caoduro as Guy De Monfort, Wojtek Gierlach as Jean Procida, Gareth Brynmor John as Robert, Christine Byrne as Ninette, and Wyn Pencarreg as Le Sire De Béthune.

Performance Dates: Feb 8 – May 9, 2020

Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” will be directed by Tobias Richter and Max Hoehn, and WNO’s Conductor Laureate Carlo Rizzi will conduct until Mar. 13, 2020. The cast includes David Ireland singing Figaro, Soraya Mafi as Susanna, Jonathan McGovern as Conte D’Almaviva, Anne Harvey as Cherubino, Leah-Marian Jones as Marcellina, Richard Roberts as Don Basilio/Don Curzio, and Harriet Eyley as Barbarina.

Performance Dates: Feb 16 – May 8, 2020

Bartók’s “Bluebeard’s Castle” and Stravinsky’s “The Nightingale” will appear together as a double-bill directed by David Pountney in the summer of 2020. Bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel returns to the company as Duke Bluebeard alongside Michelle de Young as Judit. Mark Down will direct “The Nightingale,” which will feature puppetry from Down’s theatre company, Blind Summit. The cast will also feature Benjamin Hulett and Susan Bickley.

Performance Dates: TBA

Mozart’s “Così fan tutte,” adapted for smaller venues and directed by Max Hoehn, is set to tour during the summer of 2020. Further details are to be announced.

Performance Dates: TBA


Additionally, the WNO Orchestra will perform three concerts at St David’s Hall. The first, in October, will feature repertoire from conductor Tomáš Hanus’s homeland, the Czech Republic. The second concert, conducted by Carlo Rizzi next January, will feature works by Beethoven in celebration of his 250th birthday. The final concert, led by Hanus in April, will feature Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No 2 with soloist David Adams. More details to come.