Behind The Scenes at The Welsh National Opera

February 14, 2012  •  Leave a Comment
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A recent press day with The Welsh National Opera at The Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, for which I was shooting the photography for all the attending publications from around the country, provided an insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes to put on such magnificent and lavish productions as La traviata which recently opened in Cardiff. I’m no opera buff but being Welsh, I do appreciate a good voice and there is no doubt that the WNO ranks amongst the greats and the performers are second to none.

But what goes on behind the scenes to enable the cast to perform to such high standards. Last weeks tour highlighted the sheer professionalism and attention to detail that prevails throughout the company. The costume department demonstrated their skills and explained that every costume is as true to the original period costume as they can make it. Large casts, all requiring changes of some very complex costumes, particularly with regard to the corsets and supporting hoops that give the required shape and form to voluminous period dresses, as demonstrated by Judith Russell and her wardrobe team, cause some headaches during scene changes.

The whole scale of the operation is obvious as you wander through the stage area, the domain of stage manager Julia Carson Sims where the sets produced under the guidance of Darren Joyce at the nearby Cardiff Theatrical Services are erected to such effect. Company manager Ian Douglas’ enthusiasm was evident as he directed the tour party around the warren of corridors and stages that remain unseen to the general public.

WNO Chief Executive and Artistic Director David Pountney rounded off the tour before the dress rehearsal started.

I won’t try to review the performance as I’d only show my lack of knowledge. Suffice to say that it was magnificent, colourful, full of energy and a sheer joy to behold.

Production by The Welsh National Opera – La traviata 2012.


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