Ready, steady - RHONDDA | Welsh National Opera

Ready, steady - RHONDDA

18 April 2018

The rehearsals for our new production Rhondda Rips It Up! are under way and there is a certain buzz about this exciting project. If you know nothing about it – don’t worry here’s the low down on what this rousing production is about… 

Lady Rhondda

Rhondda Rips It Up! is a new cabaret opera by Elena Langer and is centred around the Newport suffragette Margaret Haig Thomas (Lady Rhondda), who stood up for women’s rights to vote during the suffrage movements of the early 20th century. Born into a wealthy family and daughter to a successful businessman and a suffragette mother, Margaret was raised to stand up for her rights. She proved this in later life when, after the death of her father she tried to claim his seat in the House of Lords and when she was refused this became one battle that she fought throughout her life. Margaret Haig Thomas was, and still is, an undeniable inspiration and paved the way for equality in the UK.Her portrait was hung at the Royal Gallery in the House of Lords in 2011. 

As it is the centenary of the first women in the UK being given the vote, we thought that this was the perfect time to share the story of her amazing life which is the basis of the production that we’ll be touring across Wales and England this Summer and Autumn. For more facts about Lady Rhondda take a look at this video and learn more about this extraordinary woman.


Behind the scenes

With the rehearsals beginning we are all looking forward to seeing the opening night of what promises to be a wonderful new production. From the cast to the creatives it’s an all-female production and we think that this is a great way to celebrate how far 100 years has taken us in the UK. 

In anticipation for the world-premiere of this musical masterpiece we have created a series of videos to document the process of creating Rhondda Rips It Up! Here is the first instalment, in which we introduce you to the music written by Elena Langer and also we give you a sneak peek at the process they go through to create a new production.


For more, visit our YouTube channel where you can see the next episode in which we meet Lady Rhondda’s biographer Angela V John. We talk about the life of Margaret Haig Thomas, her role in the suffragette movement and view the portrait that is now hung in the House of Lords.

For more information about this production click here.


Supported by the Nicholas John Trust, in memory of Joan Moody

Colwinston Charitable Trust 

PRS Foundation's The Open Fund 

The Ambache Charitable Trust is active in raising the profile of women composers 

The Leche Trust

John Coates Charitable Trust

RVW Trust

 If you would like to know more about how to support this production click here