Who are the WNO Chorus?
Ask someone in the street to put a word after ‘opera’ and chances are the answer you'll get is ‘Singer’. We are forty full-time professional opera singers. Along with the WNO Orchestra, we form the musical and artistic backbone of one of the few large-scale opera companies in the UK. We play a significant role in the vast majority of WNO operatic performances, as well as other events throughout the year. From bohemians to bakers, duchesses to drunks, we play them all. We sing for packed houses by night while also preparing as many as three other operas during the day, making us one of the hardest-working companies in music.
Our chorus didn't come to this life by accident, there were no discoveries by talent moguls or television shows. Some of us came to opera from other careers, but the skills required to sing at this level were hard-earned over many years of training and forged out of passion for music. Competitions are a proving ground for many opera singers and between us we account for almost two hundred and fifty prizes. In addition to this our members have sung, outside of WNO, in forty-two countries on five continents. The WNO Chorus is widely regarded as a world-class ensemble and we are proud to be often singled out in reviews by National and International press.
We're not only Chorus
There is more to us than singing in the chorus, of course! Outside WNO, our musical interests are about as wide-ranging as you could imagine. One of our members directs a professional early music ensemble, another has her own rock opera group. There are several accomplished guitar shredders and a ukelele maestro. We have adjudicators for singing and musical competitions, a swing band, a couple of accomplished violinists and a jazz diva as well as a sound engineer who endeavours to record them all. Outside of music, our passions diverge even more. The Mums and Dads spend as much of their time with their children as our busy schedule allows. We have many keen runners,, we have a soprano who ties her own flies for wild brown trout fishing and a tenor who has represented Wales at squash and swimming! After all that there's rugby, yoga, dancing, acting, football, interior design, furniture restoration, blogging, DIY, cooking, baking, boxing, model railways, comic books, bell-ringing, climbing, para-gliding, teaching, snowboarding, sailing, surfing, kayaking, writing and photography! If all that sounds a bit energetic, some of us are content to spend our nights off sitting quietly in front of the telly...
While we have a number of singers from other countries in our ranks, we are unmistakably and proudly a Welsh Chorus. When you buy a ticket to see Welsh National Opera at home at Wales Millennium Centre or on tour across England and Wales, you're not just paying admission to a show. You're coming to experience a unique, live acoustic event which is never the same twice. We give our all every time we go on stage, we sing as though our lives depended on it. When you are in the audience at one of our performances, we are Your Chorus.
Megan Llewellyn Dorke
Emma Mary Llewellyn
Jessica Handley Greaves
Simon Crosby Buttle
Philip Lloyd Holtam
"It's good to be a member of a company with an International reputation but which also has a family feel. A Chorister gets to sing in a huge variety of musical styles and be a part of the productions that each of those styles invoke." Helen Greenaway, Mezzo Soprano