Welsh National Opera Marks 60th Anniversary with Online Auction

Classic Arts News   Welsh National Opera Marks 60th Anniversary with Online Auction
Opera fans who'd like to own a couture ballgown worn by Lesley Garrett, appear as an extra in La bohme, or conduct the Welsh National Opera can bid during an online fundraising auction marking the company's 60th birthday.

The online auction runs for a year with new sale items posted each month. Armchair conductors might be tempted by the chance to step up to the podium and lead an aria or overture with the WNO orchestra, following three training sessions with music director Carlo Rizzi. Other prizes up for auction include vintage WNO posters, a chance to spend a day with the WNO orchestra, and props and costumes from past productions.

The WNO is the national opera company for Wales; it presents over 110 opera performances annually and tours regularly to U.K. cities including Birmingham and Liverpool. In December 2004, WNO moved into its first permanent home, the new Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

The company was was founded 60 years ago by coal miner Idloes Owen, whose neighbors had raised money to send him to music college. Choristers and orchestral players were initially volunteers.

Carlo Rizzi said, "What we are doing is going back to our roots...Everyone can own their little piece of this company's wonderful history through making a bid. And, most important of all, they will be investing in WNO's future, just as those Valley neighbors did sixty odd years ago when they sent Idloes to study music and set him off on his remarkable musical journey."

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