'As a kid growing up in a working class neighbourhood in Cardiff we had lots of music in the house – mostly of Welsh male voice choirs. My first real experience of opera was when WNO came to my local school recruiting for the children’s chorus in Carmen and Tosca. I jumped at the chance and was touring with WNO at the age of 10. I was a pretty naughty kid and did get told off a few times by the Stage Managers! After my voice started to break I moved away from music until, at 18, I successfully auditioned for a professional male voice choir. One of the other members told me about the WNO Youth Opera and I joined as soon as I could. I hadn’t ever had a singing lesson but Tim Rhys Evans really encouraged me. WNO Youth Opera gave me the confidence to apply to music college and after three years my voice coach suggested I apply for WNO’s Extra Chorus to get the experience of a professional audition. I got an audition and I got a contract! I joined in 2005 for Don Carlos – the rest, as they say, is history. That first professional year gave me such an amazing insight, working with singers who have been doing this for 10 or 20 years. I knew I really wanted to do this and I have now worked in companies around the UK and internationally. WNO has its 70 anniversary this year and it also marks 25 years since WNO came to my school and inspired me. People who support WNO, support kids like me developing into professional singers. I am really grateful to all of them and I hope more people will consider leaving a gift in their Will.' Richard Monk
Welsh National Opera has always been a company of people. That we even exist is thanks to people – thanks to a small and determined group of real and (extra)ordinary men and women, who put their hands deep in their own pockets, sacrificed time and offers of scarce employment and fought against the odds to create a national opera company for Wales. This was their legacy to us.
We might be bigger today and we may go further than anyone else. But the spirit which founded us remains true today. We hope it will remain true for our future.
You can be part of that legacy. A gift in your Will, a gift of a lifetime, can help us to make big, bold and ambitious productions for generations to come.
How your gift is used
We always prefer bequests to be made free of conditions, allowing each gift to be put towards the area with the greatest need at the time it matures. However, if you have a preference towards an area of our work, we will endeavour to channel your gift to support that area. Key areas include:
A gift towards the Ensemble will help support our world renowned Chorus and Orchestra, as well as our highly skilled technical team – all of whom work tirelessly to ensure WNO’s performances at home, and on the road, are of the highest possible standard.
Our productions are the life-blood of the Company. The artistic and commercial buoyancy of WNO demands we continue to produce bold and accessible theatrical productions to captivate our wide and varied audience.
WNO Youth & Community
WNO uses its extraordinary musical and technical resources to take opera beyond the main stage with an exciting and highly varied programme of productions, workshops and events for children, young people and local communities. WNO works with communities across England and Wales to engage and inspire people with the emotion and magic of opera – just like Richard.
Idloes Owen Society
Leaving a gift in your Will is something very special indeed. It creates a unique bond between you and WNO, which starts with a shared passion for opera and results in the endurance of artistic excellence. We have created the Idloes Owen Society to acknowledge this very special relationship. When you notify us of your legacy, you will become a member of this group. Named after one of our principal founders, this society is a way of WNO thanking our pledged legators. Every year the society is credited against one production.
Legacies can be left to WNO in a number of ways – it isn’t complicated and needn’t be expensive. Most commonly, people choose to make a gift of:
• a single lump sum (a pecuniary legacy)
• a percentage of the residue of an estate once it is settled (a residuary legacy)
We advise you to visit a solicitor to seek advice about how to make a Will. Solicitors will charge a fee, but you will receive sound professional advice and can be sure that your wishes are accurately reflected. Please download the How to Leave a gift document for general clause wordings which can be used when in discussion with your solicitor.
Download document below: How to leave a gift - wording and tax
If you have already made a Will
You can make simple amends to an existing Will in the form of a codicil. This document is a supplement to your Will enabling you to include new instructions and delete old ones without having to go through the task of rewriting the whole Will.
Your Will and any codicils to it are legal documents. Alterations, if not made according to strict regulations and the law, may be invalid or open to challenge. It is very important you seek legal advice before making any changes to your Will.
If you have remembered WNO in your Will please let us know. How much contact you have with WNO is entirely your choice. If you wish to remain anonymous or if you want to know more about an aspect of our work please tell us. We can only honour your wishes if we know about them. WNO feels a great debt of gratitude to donors that remember us in this way and we can only show this gratitude during their lifetime - once the gift matures, it really is too late!
To discuss your options in confidence contact Caron on:
Phone: 029 2063 5048
'It is easy to make, amend or update your Will. It is tax effective – charitable donations in your Will are exempt from inheritance tax. It costs you nothing now but will mean a lot to us in the future. It is a gift that lasts - every gift makes a real difference.' Caron Thomas, Senior Development Manager