S4C in new opera deal with Welsh National Opera


S4C is to broadcast Welsh National Opera’s revival of Falstaff, starring Bryn Terfel in the title role, as part of a three-year deal that sees the Channel air a total of four WNO productions.

Bass-baritone Bryn’s performance as Falstaff will be his only operatic role in 2008 anywhere in the world, and the production, staged next March at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff has already sold out.

TV company Opus TF will produce all four operas for S4C, starting with Falstaff, directed by Peter Stein and conducted by Carlo Rizzi. The opera, Verdi’s last and based on the character in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, will be performed in Italian, with a choice of English or Welsh subtitles available.

The three other operas will be announced in due course.

Rhian Gibson, S4C’s Director of Commissioning, said, “Creative excellence is at the heart of the S4C mission and nowhere is that commitment to quality programming more evident than in the Channel’s music coverage.

“S4C is delighted to continue its relationship with Welsh National Opera with this new agreement, which will enable the company’s first-class productions to be enjoyed by an even wider audience.”

John Fisher, General Director Welsh National Opera, added, “This is a wonderful opportunity to show some of WNO’s future productions to as large an audience as possible. We are particularly delighted that each of the operas chosen will feature internationally acclaimed Welsh singers in the cast, in addition to emerging young singers who are the voices of the future.

“Falstaff is a brilliant starting point, as Bryn Terfel comes full circle with a production he is very familiar with: shortly after winning the Lieder Prize in the 1989 Cardiff Singer of the World competition, he sang the role of Ford in Falstaff for WNO; this time round he sings the title role.”

Gareth Williams, Chief Executive Opus TF, said, “Opus has a strong relationship with WNO and we have cooperated with the company on a number of projects, including documentaries, concerts and the operas themselves. We’re delighted to be working with Bryn Terfel on the first opera in the series, Verdi’s masterpiece, Falstaff.”

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