Khovanshchina, which will be directed by David Pountney, continues the company's Russian series, which began last May with a new production of Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa. The Mussorgsky opera, which will be sung in English, opens February 17 with mezzo-soprano Rosalind Plowright making her WNO debut in the role of Marfa. Robert Hayward, who sang the title role in WNO's Mazeppa, returns to sing the role of Prince Ivan Khovansky.
The company's revival of Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser's staging of Carmen,, with British mezzo-soprano Sara Fulgoni in the title role, opens on February 25.
Welsh National Opera wraps up its winter season in Cardiff on March 3 and then proceeds to tour Carmen, Butterfly and Khovanshchina to Swansea in Wales and to Southampton, Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Plymouth in England. WNO is actually the UK's largest provider of opera to England outside London.
The spring season also sees the premiere of Wild Cat, a new chamber opera "exploring the myth of the big cats that allegedly roam the Welsh countryside." The third opera in WNO's environmental trilogy Land Sea Sky, Wild Cats has a score by Julian Phillips, who was recently appointed composer-in-residence at Glyndebourne Opera House.
May will bring Carmen back to Cardiff, this time with Imelda Drumm in the title role. May and June will also see a new WNO double-bill of Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins (with Diversions, the national dance company of Wales) and Bart‹k's Duke Bluebeard's Castle, as well as concert presentations of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, Verdi's Quattro pezzi sacri (Four Sacred Pieces) and Walton's Belshazzar's Feast. In late June, the company will repeat the programs at the Hippodrome in Birmingham.
One special event of the WNO season is a concert performance of music by James MacMillan, with the WNO orchestra conducted by the composer at St. David's Hall in Cardiff on April 26. The program includes MacMillan's The Confession of Isobel Gowdie and Magnificat. MacMillan's recently commissioned opera, The Sacrifice, will be premiered by WNO next fall.