Wales will nurture new opera stars

July 7, 2006

A cast of international opera stars is lending its support to Cardiff University's International Academy of Voice, which is due to welcome its first student cohort next January, writes Tony Tysome.

The academy will perfect the voices and musicianship of its students under the directorship of Welsh tenor Dennis O'Neill.

It has already won the support of eminent musical figures, some of whom will deliver masterclasses. These include opera stars Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel, Sir Thomas Allen, conductor Zubin Mehta and Antonio Pappano, musical director of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Students will receive daily one-to-one tuition, helping them to prepare for the operatic roles that will be central to their careers.

Each term will involve public recitals, concerts and at least one full opera, performed in Wales and internationally. Courses will include two weeks at the Teatro dei Differenti in Barga, Italy.

The academy has established links with the Welsh National Opera, the Australian Opera Centre, the Palau des Artes in Valencia, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Sinfonia Cymru.

Mr O'Neill said: "The Cardiff International Academy of Voice will provide a highly specialised and unique environment to help promising opera singers achieve lasting success. There could be no more appropriate setting than Cardiff, the capital of Wales, land of song."

David Grant, Cardiff's vice-chancellor, said the academy would "not only train the operatic stars of the future, but also add to Wales's reputation for staging international-quality events".

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