• Emma Williams

'Wythnos' Opera

This was my journey to work in October and November, so many fabulous Welsh landscapes which were part of every day on this amazing project. A collaboration between Ensemble Cymru and Opra Cymru culminating in a new Welsh language opera composed by Gareth Glyn, with libretto by the Welsh poet Mererid Hopwood. It went on to win best production in Welsh language at the Welsh Arts Awards.

The libretto is taken from Islwyn Ffowc Elis' science fiction novel "Wythnos yng Nghymru Fydd" or A Week in the Wales of the Future and follows the main character Ifan on an experimental journey through time. Ifan travels to a future where Wales is independent, prosperous and the Welsh language is thriving. He falls in love and when he returns back to his own time longs to make a return trip to 2033 to be reunited with his love. The scientist conducting the experiment warns Ifan that he may encounter a very different future if he travels in time again. Of course he returns and it's disaster all round, the Welsh language is dead and in this future, the outlawed Welsh language is all but forgotten and the countryside has become numbered zones of "Western England", his love Maria/Mair has no memory of him. The scientist explains that both scenarios are possible and that it is up to the Welsh people to shape their future.

There was a resonance in this project of current global situations be it a broader political picture for the world we live in: the displacement of communities and individuals, the loss of landscapes, environment and cultural identity.

It was great to join Ensemble Cymru playing Gareth Glyn's score for this opera. Gareth's music conveyed the drama and the story clearly struck a chord with our audiences across Wales. Iwan Davies conducting made for a memorable run: quiet, clear and authoritative.

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