Night of international and homegrown stars in operatic double bill
ONE of the world’s finest young opera singers will be performing alongside an international cast on her home ground in Wrexham.
Soprano Rachel Marsh will star in two one-act operas at St Giles’ Church on Saturday, December 22, in a spectacular showcase for pupils of the North Wales Opera Studio.
She will take the lead role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica during an evening sponsored by the Pendine Park care organisation via their Pendine Arts and Community Trust (PACT).
The second opera on the night is Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, with soprano Zena O’May, of Queensferry, in the lead role of the peasant girl, Santuzza.
Rachel and Zena are both pupils of the North Wales Studio which is run by Anne Williams-King, from Penycae, who is a top soprano in her own right having performed at opera houses around Europe, Australia, Japan, the USA and across South America.
Anne said: “It’s an amazing opportunity for two of my best students. They will performing alongside soprano Millicent Setshedi, who is coming over to Wales from South Africa specifically for the production, as well as tenor Adam Margulies from Berlin and Norwegian mezzo soprano Maria Ejderos Sveinungsen and the Cantorion Rhos mixed choir.
“It’s going to be a truly international production.
“Suor Angelica is a really tragic tale of a young woman who is forced to live in a convent by her family after having an illegitimate child.
“She spends years waiting to hear news of her child only to find out he died of a fever.
“She concocts a poison potion to kill herself and, after taking it, remembers suicide is a sin so she won’t go to heaven to be with her child.
“However, she has a vision of the Virgin Mary with her child and realises her sin is forgiven.”
She added: “Cavalleria Rusticana is a tale of love, rejection and revenge set in Sicily and is a wonderful one-act opera. It will give Zena O’May a wonderful opportunity to show just what she can do. I’m looking forward to what will be a wonderful evening of music featuring some of my most talented students”
Rachel, 26, said: “It’s been an exciting year. This will be my first lead role and I’m very excited. Sister Angelica is a wonderful and incredible role in what is a very touching and tragic story. I’m also looking forward to meeting and singing with some incredible international talent.”
Zena O’May, 55, said “I sang in the chorus of the English National Opera as a mezzo soprano. However, my voice has changed a little and I’m busy learning the soprano repertoire under Anne’s expert guidance.”
She added: “I’m so looking forward to the event at St Giles Church, it’s going to be amazing, especially as there is a real international cast. “
Zena has just performed Elgar’s Sea Pictures at St James, Piccadilly , alongside my accompanist, Marco Belluzzi who will also be playing at the St Giles concert.”
● Rachel Marsh from Wrexham will star in a touching one-act opera at St Giles church Wrexham on December 22