By Royal Appointment: Penarth youngsters sing at Buckingham Palace!
A GROUP of young Penarth singers had a royal appointment recently - when they entertained guests at Buckingham Palace!
Emily Alford, Maxine Pwele, Libero Tassinari, Niamh Bannister, Maddy Carver, Karishma Krishna and Emily McConnon are part of the Welsh National Opera (WNO) Singing Club, which performed for the Prince of Wales and others on June 21.
They were joined by 28 other youngsters, aged ten to 14, as they serenaded guests attending the Welsh National Opera Gala Night, hosted by patron Prince Charles.
Welsh opera stars Bryn Terfel and Penarth resident Rebecca Evans also performed.
Albert Primary schoolmates Libero and Niamh, who joined the singing club around the same time in September 2011, said it was a “very special” experience.
Niamh, who turned 11 two days before the gala night, said: “The performance was amazing. Buckingham Palace was so beautiful.
"It was so special to sing there. It really couldn't be better. And we even got to meet Prince Charles!”
Libero, originally from Italy, added: “He was very posh, but very kind! Meeting him was a real highlight.”
The club meets every Saturday to learn singing techniques and drama skills, and songs for the palace performance were chosen from the WNO library.
Niamh, who said she is considering a career as a singer, added: “We sang in the gallery which had lots of big important pictures. And we could see the staircase leading up to it had big gold pillars and cherubs on the wall.”
Libero added: “It was so huge and ornate, it looked fake - even the fire extinguishers are gold! But the side entrance was a bit tatty!"
Singing Club members regularly appear in main-scale WNO operas which call for children’s roles, including the new production of La Bohème this summer. They are also currently premiering a new work by Welsh Composer Lynne Plowman, called The Face in the Mirror, which started touring at Weston-Super-Mare on June 16 and finishes at the Richard Burton Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on July 7.
The Buckingham Palace event was held to thank the company’s supporters - specifically the WNO Futures Appeal, which has raised funds in support of WNO chief executive and artistic director David Pountney’s recently announced future artistic plans. These include performances of Manon Lescaut, Boulevard Solitude, Moses und Aron, Nabucco, a new production of Wagner’s Lohengrin, and four-year long exploration of the Bel Canto repertoire.
WNO MAX director Rhian Hutchings said: “WNO Singing Club is a very talented group of young people and they are the perfect ambassadors for WNO.
"It’s an extremely busy summer for them, including the premier and tour of their very own opera, The Face in the Mirror – but the chance to sing for The Prince of Wales and his guests was an opportunity they didn’t want to miss, and I’m so thrilled that they were part of the Gala.
"The performance was a great opportunity to show all sides of the company including our work with young people and the community.”
For more information on WNO and The Face in the Mirror, log on to www.wno.org.uk