Stellar talents shine for festival launch
AYOUNG piano virtuoso and “supremely gifted” opera singer will have starring roles at the launch concert for an international music festival.
Siôn Edwards, 17, and Welsh National Opera (WNO) mezzo soprano Rebecca Afonwy-Jones are set to enchant the audience at St Asaph Cathedral on Wednesday, June 20, at 7.30pm.
The concert will be the curtainraiser for the North Wales International Music Festival, to be staged at the same venue from Saturday, September 15, to Sunday, September 30.
The launch event comes only weeks after Rebecca wowed audiences with a stellar performance in Madam Butterfly in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.
Tickets are on sale and a large turnout is expected to mark the official release of the exciting programme for this year’s main festival in the autumn.
It is the 46th year of the spectacle founded in 1972 by composer William Mathias, now a highlight of the UK classical music calendar.
The glittering evening will also see celebratory choral performances from Ruthin’s Côr Cytan Clwyd and Corwen-based Côr Meibion Bro Glyndŵr, harp ensemble Telynau Clwyd and a quartet from the festival’s resident orchestra, New Sinfonia.
All will give a hint of what is to come at this year’s main festival, where Rebecca will again be performing in an emotional appearance as her husband, fellow opera star Julian Close, will be on stage too. She said: “Last summer, I married Julian and now, as luck would have it, we shall both be appearing in St Asaph together at the festival for the Requiem concert. It will be our first professional appearance as husband and wife!”
Julian is a WNO regular and, after the North Wales festival, he will make his debut in Montreal, before a return to The Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Rebecca, meanwhile, though only in her thirties, has also become an established presence in the operatic arena, having performed worldwide and been heralded by critics as ‘one to watch’.
Siôn, from Pwllglas, near Ruthin, is the nephew of top violinist Iona Davies, of Llangollen, and will appear at the launch concert hot on the heels of sitting his A-level exams. He has been learning piano since he was aged five and violin since he was nine. He practises for two hours each day and attends Royal Northern College of Music tutorials every Saturday. He comes from a musical family and enjoys performing piano recitals with his two sisters, Cerys, 15 and Cathrin, 11. The fan of baroquemusic hopes to deliver works by Bach, Chopin, Debussy and Gershwin on the big night, and will also join in some of the choral performances.
Tickets for the launch concert at £10 are available from caroline@ nwimf.com or Cathedral Frames, 28 High Street, St Asaph - 01745 582929. To find out more about the North Wales International Music Festival visit www.nwimf.com.
Siôn Edwards from Pwllglas will perform at the launch concert for the North Wales International Music Festival