Posted on Wed, 2013-03-06 16:00 by Backstage
Hi. I’m Dafydd Weeks. I’m a baritone with WNO Youth Opera for this year’s production for Paul Bunyan. This is my 5th production with WNO Youth Opera and already it’s looking to be one of the biggest and best.
And when I say biggest, I mean it. Firstly, there’s Paul Bunyan himself. The giant lumberjack of American folklore is so big; he can’t even fit onto the stage of the Donald Gordon Theatre. We will only know him by his voice...
The fact that we’re performing on the big stage this year, after nearly a decade of occupying the Weston Studio, really shows how the company has developed in ambition and reputation. Each year, I have eagerly awaited the press release to find out what WNO Youth Opera were up to next; and each time I remember my heart skipping with excitement as I deliver my application form.
So here I am once again with a brand new company of very talented individuals, ready to do it all over again. The first weekend gave us a chance to get to know each other and learn more about the piece. Easily, one of the most exciting parts of the weekend was seeing the set and costume designs and having Martin, our Director, talk us through his vision of the show. I can safely say that it will break any expectations you may have of this opera. Brace yourselves as you enter the theatre in August and prepare for a very powerful and visually stunning show.
We also got a chance to learn a few of the songs from the first act. It’s a truly spine-tingling experience singing with so many equally passionate singers. The Prologue is beautiful. It begins with a chorus of old trees explaining how they are content with their peaceful and uneventful lives. But all this is soon to change with the birth of Paul Bunyan.
Paul’s backstory is told in the form of jaunty American folk ballad. It’ll be one of the very rare occasions where you’ll hear someone playing spoons and a washboard in an operatic performance. I personally can’t believe that I’ll get a chance to play guitar on the main stage of Wales Millennium Centre. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.
There’s obviously still a lot of work to be done, but I can already tell that this production will be one to remember.