Welsh National Opera Celebrates 75th Anniversary With Special Poem and Recordings

By Logan Martell

Welsh National Opera has announced the release of a newly-commissioned poem in celebration of the company’s first performance 75 years ago.

Written by the National Poet of Wales, Ilfor ap Glyn, the poem, titled “Intermezzo,” reflects on WNO’s beginnings and its rise into a world-renowned company. The is read by a number of distinguished Welsh voices, such as Sir Bryn Terfel, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, rugby legend Sir Gareth Edwards, harpist Catrin Finch, singer/songwriter Caryl Parry Jones, soprano Rebecca Evans, folk singer Dafydd Iwan, actors Dame Siân Phillips, Mark Lewis Jones, and Rakie Ayola.

The company’s very first performance was a double-bill of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci,” which took place on April 15, 1946, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Cardiff. To commemorate this performance, WNO Chorus and Orchestra will also release a newly-recorded version of the “Easter Hymn” from “Cavalleria Rusticana.”

All films are available on WNO’s website, and will be shared on their social media.

“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,” says WNO General Director Aidan Lang. “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 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 and Easter Hymn are both a celebration of Wales’s heritage as the land of song and a reflection on the importance of music and the arts to all of our lives.”