Wednesday, 7 August 2013

PAUL BUNYAN (Wales Millennium Centre) Birmingham Youngsters to appear with Welsh National Opera's Youth Opera

WNO Youth Opera are celebrating Benjamin Britten's centenary year with a new production of Paul Bunyan on 23 and 24 August at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. The production features more than 100 singers, orchestral players, technical students, costume makers, dressers and wigs and make-up students all aged between 16 and 25. 

In previous years Welsh National Opera has grown a strong relationship with Birmingham Hippodrome and 10 operas are already on sale for Autumn 2013/Spring 2014 (click here for more information and to book). Amongst the cast and crew of the celebratory production in Cardiff are eight youngsters some of whom are originally from Birmingham while others study in the city.

Rose Liggins (22) – Nuneaton, Warwickshire – Technical (Studying Theatre Design & Production in Trinity Carmarthen)

Joanna Wright (19) – Birmingham (Originally from Somerset) – Technical (Studying Stage Management at Birmingham School of Acting)

Emily Tidbury (21) – Selly Oak (Originally from Christchurch) – Singer (University studying Music in Birmingham University)

Ryan Shore (17) – Stratford-Upon-Avon (Originally from Solihull) – Singer (Stratford-Upon-Avon College studying Performing Arts)

Lauren Morris (22) – Solihull – Singer (Currently studying in University of Birmingham)

Sian Collins – Horn player in orchestra (studying in Birmingham Conservatoire)

Joshua Large – Trombone player in orchestra (studying in Birmingham Conservatoire)

Megan Jowett – Viola player in orchestra (studying in Birmingham Conservatoire)

Aimee Daniel – Singer (studying in Birmingham Conservatoire)

The production of Paul Bunyan marks the first time that the Youth Opera have performed on the Donald Gordon stage of the Wales Millennium Centre and they are joined by Britain's Got Talent finalists Only Boys Aloud as the Lumberjack Chorus. Stephen Fry provides the voice of Bunyan himself. 

Stephen Fry recording the voice over for Paul Bunyan - Photo by Richard Hubert Smith.

QI presenter Stephen Fry is an opera lover and lifelong Richard Wagner fan. He has previously played the Major-Domo in a recording of Ariadne aug Naxos for Chandos Records and provided the translation for Kenneth Branagh's film The Magic Flute. Fry, who has pre-recorded his role, which will be incorporated into the production via voice-over and visual projection said: "As a lifelong opera lover I am thrilled to be part of Welsh National Youth Opera's new production of Paul Bunyan. Harnessing the energy and passion of this young company is an extremely appropriate way to celebrate Benjamin Britten's centenary year and I hope that the young singers, musicians and technical students will spread their enthusiasm for this fantastic art-form to their friends and families."

Only Boys Aloud are hard at work becoming Bunyan's lumberjacks. 

It has been WNO's commitment to nurture, develop and support young talent via WNO Youth Opera for more than 10 years. Participants are provided with invaluable practical experience to progress and become professionals in the industry while also giving an opportunity to those who have never been involved in theatre before. 

Performances of Paul Bunyan are on Friday 23 August 2013 at 7:30pm and Saturday 24 August 2013 at 2:30pm & 7:30pm. To book tickets at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff - call the box office on 02920 636464 or click here to book online.

You can find out about extra events in Birmingham with Welsh National opera by clicking here

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