Welsh National Opera Launches New Podcast

Posted by: Creative Cardiff

Date: 12 June 2020

  • Two series will be unveiled by the Company in English and Welsh
  • Series will provide insight into the world of opera for both newcomers and hardcore opera fans
  • Digital technology used to produce series under lockdown restrictions

Welsh National Opera is launching a new podcast with two series; one in English – The O Word - and one in Welsh – Cipolwg.

The new podcast is being launched with the aim of giving an insight into a touring opera company working on an international scale, and highlighting the relevance of opera today and its power to change lives.  Both series will delve into the wider work and impact of the Company both on stage and in the wider community, and will also look into topics such as the benefits of singing for everyone, and what it takes to be an opera singer. 

Both series intend to bring listeners closer to the people behind WNO and the wider operatic world, and provide a source of information and entertainment for opera lovers and those new to the art form.

The series will take a ‘chat show’ format, and include interviews, facts, features and behind-the-scenes insights and anecdotes from the world of opera and beyond.  Episodes will be available weekly, beginning with the first episodes being launched on 11 June.

The O Word will be presented by journalist and opera enthusiast Gareth Jones. The series will see Gareth navigating his way around the world of a touring opera company and talking to those in the know as he tries to answer some of opera’s burning questions, touching on current issues and the future of opera. The series will include interviews with singers and key figures in the arts world and beyond, with the first episode including an interview with internationally-renowned Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones.

In keeping with current restrictions on public gatherings and performances, The O Word will also explore the challenges this presents to the industry, and reflect on what the future of opera might look like.

Welsh-language series Cipolwg will be presented by comedian and journalist Lorna Prichard, a lifelong opera fan who saw her first one in Rhyl aged six. The series will provide a ‘glance’ into the world of opera and see Lorna speaking to singers, conductors, experts and audience members, and delving into the weird and wonderful side of opera and classical music. The series will give an insight into the hard work that goes into making an opera as well as taking a look at the wider impact that an opera company has on the community.

Recording of the series has been made possible during lockdown through the use of digital platforms, with adherence to social distancing guidelines. WNO has worked closely with recording studio Ty Cerdd, with producers and engineers working remotely to assist with the editing process.

Aidan Lang WNO General Director said: Our podcast has been in the planning stage for the last few months and when we reached a lockdown situation we thought we may have to put production on hold. But we have managed to use digital communication platforms and the goodwill of our producers and interviewees, as well as expertise from Ty Cerdd, to continue with production. The result we hope, is two very positive podcast series that listeners will enjoy now and in the future.”

Gareth Jones said: “The O Word offers an insight in to the whole world of opera; not just the productions, but how opera fits in to the world today both on and off stage. I hope that for people feeling there’s an opera-shaped gap in their lives in these difficult times, this podcast may help fill it and they will enjoy listening to the show as much as I have enjoyed making it.”

Lorna Prichard said: “Cipolwg will give people a sneak peek into the opera world from the perspective of an enthusiastic opera fan (me!). Unlike most people I don't have favourite bands that I try and see in concert, I have favourite operas that I try and see over and over again! Plus I'm always so excited to discover new productions and works, and learn more. So this is really a dream job for me. Hopefully I will create some new fans for this amazing art form along the way!”

The podcast will be available to download from a number of podcast directories, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, and will also be available from the WNO website.