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Welsh National Opera Tudor Season - UK Tour

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Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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It's not over until Anne Boleyn sings
The macabre and passionate world of the Tudors is explored in a series of performances by the Welsh National Opera (WNO) this autumn.

Judith Howarth plays Mary Stuart in the Welsh National Opera performance. Photo credit Robert Workman

Donizetti's three Tudor operas - Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux - will be performed together for the first time in the UK. At their core are some of history's most infamous characters.

It sees young directors Alessandro Talevi and Rudolf Frey put their mark on these productions.

The UK tour which will go to Cardiff, Swansea, Oxford, Liverpool, Bristol, Birmingham, Llandudno and Southampton.

The Autumn season also includes Michael Blakemore's version of Puccini's Tosca.

Anna Bolena centres on Anne Boleyn's final days in the scheming court of Henry VIII.

WNO's Maria Stuarda stars Judith Howarth as Mary Stuart and Adina Nitescu as Queen Elizabeth. Photo credit Robert Workman.

Director Rudolf Frey says: "Donizetti's opera Maria Stuarda intrigues me on many levels as it is a sharp and concise interpretation of one of the most exciting episodes in Tudor history. The simple presence of the two queens has an enormous explosive power.

"In this production we will give them their own equal but distinctive habitat on stage - the larger than life queens will almost appear as if they were precious artifacts in a contemporary exhibition

"Obviously the opera concentrates on a love-theme with Count Leicester as the catalyst of this triangle. This raises questions about Elizabeth's status as the 'Virgin Queen' when compared to the affairs and crimes Mary Stuart is being accused of. We get an insight into the most vulnerable point of the two monarchs as they are being driven by their will to rule, survive and retain their female identity in a male-dominated society."

A scene from WNO's Anna Bolena

WNO has teamed up with the National Trust to hold events and days out are being held at National Trust houses where Tudor history would have been played out for real in Newport, Birmingham, Anglesey, Tenby and Liverpool.


Tickets cost £5 - £54
Visit the WNO website at

There is an under-30s ticket offer throughout the season with 50 tickets available at every performance for £5 for people aged under-30.

Anna Bolena - 7 September - 27 November
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff - 14 Sep - 4 Oct
Swansea Grand Theatre - 9 Oct
New Theatre Oxford - 16 Oct
Liverpool Empire Theatre - 23 Oct
The Bristol Hippodrome - 6 Nov
Birmingham Hippodrome - 13 Nov
Venue Cymru, Llandudno - 20 Nov
The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton - 27 Nov

Maria Stuarda - 13 September - 28 November
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff - 13 Sep - 5 Oct
Swansea Grand Theatre - 10 Oct
New Theatre Oxford - 17 Oct
Liverpool Empire Theatre - 24 Oct
The Bristol Hippodrome - 7 Nov
Birmingham Hippodrome - 14 Nov
Venue Cymru, Llandudno - 21 Nov
The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton - 28 Nov

Roberto Devereux - 2 Oct - 29 Nov
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff 2 Oct - 6 Oct
Swansea Grand Theatre 11 Oct
New Theatre Oxford 18 Oct
Liverpool Empire Theatre 25 Oct
The Bristol Hippodrome 8 Nov
Birmingham Hippodrome 15 Nov
Venue Cymru, Llandudno 22 Nov
The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton 29 Nov

Tosca - 13 September - 28 November
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff - 21 Sep - 3 Oct
Swansea Grand Theatre - 8 Oct - 12 Oct
New Theatre Oxford - 15 Oct - 19 Oct
Liverpool Empire Theatre - 22 Oct - 26 Oct
The Bristol Hippodrome - 5 Nov - 9 Nov
Birmingham Hippodrome - 12 Nov - 16 Nov
Venue Cymru, Llandudno - 19 Nov - 23 Nov
The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton - 26 Nov - 30 Nov

Fact and FictionNational Trust special events are held at:
Tickets cost £15 per person.Running time approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

Tredegar House, Newport - 5 October
11.30am–1pm & 2–3.30pm
Call 029 2063 6464 to book.

Packwood House & Baddesley Clinton, near Birmingham - 14 November
11.30am–1pm & 2–3.30pm
Call 0844 338 5000 to book.

Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens, Anglesey - 21 November
11.30am–1pm & 2–3.30pm
Call 01492 872000 to book.

Other events at:
Tudor Merchant's house in Tenby - 10 October.
Speke Hall and Little Moreton Hall - 24 October
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Why? See the Tudors as never before
When: until November 30
Where: Theatres across the UK
Cost: From £5
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