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Singing outside the Box.

Byline: By Jenny Longhurst South Wales Echo

The grounds at Dyffryn Gardens, St Nicholas will come alive with the sound of Verdi's music when Brecon's Opera Box stages La Traviata in the open air next weekend.

'Performing outdoors adds a lot of atmosphere and sometimes it adds water,' said Brendan Wheatley, artistic director of the company.

If wet, the cast members simply put on waterproof cloaks and carry on singing and the show, in aid of the Prince's Trust Cymru, will still go on.

'The worst weather we ever had to contend with was at Battle Abbey,' Brendan recalled.

'It was horizontal rain.

'Everyone was in Kagools. They looked like an audience of Ninja turtles.

'British audiences are very stoic.'

Opera Box is confident it has a production that both opera lovers as well as those new to the art will enjoy.

'The setting is wonderful, much less formal than in a theatre,' said Brendan.

'And because of the relaxed surroundings, a lot of people who wouldn't normally go to an opera will come along.'

Verdi's La Traviata, which caused a scandal at its premiere in 1853, is one of the most popular works in the operatic repertoire.

'It's a fabulous opera with sublime music and beautiful costumes, some of them from Glyndebourne,' said Brendan.

This will be a traditional production of the love tragedy set in 19th-Century Paris.

Based on the book The Lady Of The Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, it tells the heart- rending story of the sick courtesan Violetta and her nobleman lover, Alfredo.

She is persuaded by his father to give him up for his own good and they go their separate ways, only to be reunited when she is on her death bed.

Penelope Randall Davis sings Violetta, Jeff Stewart takes the role of Alfredo and Henry Newman is Germont Pere in the Verdi masterpiece accompanied by pianist Bryan Davies and a chamber orchestra.

La Traviata is staged on Sunday, September 4.

For tickets call 0870 040 2000
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 27, 2005
Words:333
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