There is no better way to cross cultural divides than through the arts. And it is in this, as well as musical excellence, that Welsh National Opera excels.

As an experienced touring company, WNO takes opera from its home at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff across Wales and England, and its travels don’t stop at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. WNO is a powerful creative force on the worldwide opera stage and a major player in promoting Wales and Britain internationally.

Alongside a programme of performances, youth, community and digital events, WNO forges artistic partnerships with opera companies and cultural partners around the globe, providing opportunities for internationally acclaimed singers, conductors and directors to work with the company. Partnerships have included co-productions with, among others, San Francisco Opera, Komische Oper Berlin, State Opera of South Australia and Grand Théâtre de Genève.

‘International partnerships enable us to reach greater heights of creative practice,’ explains Leonora Thomson, managing director. ‘Co-productions help us to play our part in taking the brand of Wales abroad and demonstrating that Wales as a nation punches above its weight culturally.’

WNO’s cultural globetrotting has been part of its DNA from the company’s first performances in 1946. Since then it has performed in Lausanne, Zurich, Barcelona, Lisbon, New York, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, Leipzig, Berlin, Porto, Hong Kong, Frankfurt and Dresden. Still pushing boundaries, in recent years WNO became the first British opera company to perform at the Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman, at Finland’s iconic Savonlinna Opera Festival, and has showcased the best of young operatic talent at the British Ambassador’s residence in Doha, Qatar, as part of Welsh Cultural Week. In 2017, WNO was the first British opera company to perform at Dubai Opera.

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‘Opera is an international medium, so it is important that WNO acts as a two-way platform, bringing the best
talent from around the world to Wales, and presenting Wales at the peak of its creativity before an international audience,’ says WNO artistic director David Pountney. ‘We are proud to represent Wales, but nationalism should
never be a narrow focus, rather one that reaches out to the widest variety of communities across the world.’

In March 2018 WNO will take its highly acclaimed production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande to the Hong Kong Arts Festival, marking the 2018 centenary of Debussy’s death. Performed in French with English and Chinese subtitles, the production, directed by David Pountney, has been hailed as ‘an enigmatic, pulse-racing production full of characteristic verve and edginess’ (Wales Theatre Awards 2016 ‘Best Opera Production’).

‘We are thrilled to be part of the Hong Kong Festival,’ Pountney says, ‘and look forward to imbibing that city’s vibrant energy as well as bringing to it a bit of Welsh passion of our own.’

The success of Welsh National Opera’s productions internationally has earned the company respect from global audiences as well as international partners. Through a shared belief in excellence and quality, the company links WNO
to Wales, and Wales to the rest of the world.



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