Stel­lar tal­ents shine for fes­ti­val launch

Bangor Mail - - YOUR GUIDE -

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 caro­[email protected] or Cathe­dral Frames, 28 High Street, St As­aph - 01745 582929. To find out more about the North Wales In­ter­na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val visit

Pic by Jane Wid­dow­son

Siôn Ed­wards from Pwll­glas will per­form at the launch con­cert for the North Wales In­ter­na­tional Mu­sic Fes­ti­val

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