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Welsh National Opera‘s podcasts, The O Word (in English) and Cipolwg (in Welsh), return with a three-part series looking at the journey of a young artist from their first exposure to classical music to their experience as a student leading up to their first professional performance.
The aim of these episodes is not only to help and encourage any young person who is thinking about a career in the arts but to also to give an unfiltered insight from the hosts themselves whilst also learning from others going through the same process today.
Three guest hosts take the reins for The O Word:
Soprano Natalya Romaniw (pictured above) opens the series, reflecting on her early singing days with WNO Youth Opera and chats to her friend and fellow Youth Opera alumnus soprano Rhian Lois.
In episode two, Director of Music at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Tim Rhys-Evans investigates the process of studying at conservatoires and universities, while WNO Female Conductor in Residence Tianyi Lu presents episode three, where she hosts a round table discussion to discover the first steps a graduate takes towards a professional career.
Natalya Romaniw said: ‘I wanted to explore how formative musical experiences can impact young singers and to incorporate this with looking back at my own experiences with WNO Youth Opera. Youth Opera provided a nurturing environment for me and other like-minded performers, all eager to share the wonderful process of music making. It was here that I made one of my lifelong friends, Rhian Lois and I was thrilled to be able to take a trip down memory lane with her in my episode. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.’
Cipolwg also returns for a three-part series hosted by WNO Dramaturg Elin Jones. Comedian and journalist Lorna Prichard joins Elin once again, this time on the road as a roving reporter meeting young people, students and professional singers across Wales and finding out more about each stage on the path to a professional operatic career.
Throughout this mini-series, Elin takes a look at the training and development opportunities available for young aspiring singers and artists with Lorna interviewing WNO Youth Opera’s North Wales practitioners Morgana Warren-Jones and Jenny Pearson, as well as one of its members, Millie Roberts. Tim Rhys-Evans is a guest for the second episode where Lorna interviews him about conservatoire training, as well as his previous experience of leading youth groups such as Only Boys Aloud. The series ends with a glimpse into the professional world of a singer, with Lorna meeting two young singers, Alys Roberts and Elgan Llŷr Thomas.
WNO General Director Aidan Lang said: ‘We’re delighted to announce the return of our podcast series and are looking forward to sharing these new episodes over the coming weeks. Despite the current situation, it’s more important than ever that we invest in nurturing and developing young artistic talent for the future, and during the lockdowns we have found that many of our young participants have continued to enthusiastically engage with our online programmes such as Youth Opera. We hope this mini-series gives a thoughtful and interesting insight into the process of becoming a young artist and will perhaps act as inspiration to the next generation of opera singers, musicians and artists.’
Episodes are available to download weekly from 11 March via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and via the WNO website.