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Eisteddfod star promises to return Llangollen

Llangollen | Mid Wales entertainment | Published:

Superstar Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón has promised to return to the area after wowing the audience as he followed in a long line of great artists onto the stage at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

Lyric coloratura soprano Charlotte Hoather, tenor Rolando Villazón and Welsh lyric soprano Rhian Lois Picture Mandy Jones

The Royal International Pavilion has seen performances from a cavalcade of musical stars in its 72-year history including opera giants Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Montserrat Cabballé and Bryn Terfel.

And it was Welshman Terfel who encouraged his friend Rolando to accept an invitation to perform in a concert on Tuesday sponsored by one of the Eisteddfod’s greatest supporters, the Pendine Arts and Community Trust (PACT).

Mario Kreft MBE, who heads the Pendine Park care organisation, was among the audience enthralled by Villazón and he said: “It was just wonderful to have someone like this at Llangollen, someone who can inspire people and especially young people.

“It was a great event. Rolando came on and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand before he had even sung a note. He even said some words in Welsh about how pleased he was to be there.”

“It is all about inspiring the youngsters. It’s the Eisteddfod’s message of peace and harmony – it’s a great event and we’re delighted to be associated with it.

“The audience were enthralled and appreciative and the connection between them and Rolando was marvellous but that’s the kind of person he is, he just captivated them.

“He is a like a musical artist who can convey the emotions of a great actor as well as sing – he has even written two novels. He’s incredibly talented.”

Villazón, who lives in the south of France and has dual French and Mexican citizenship, was joined on stage by Charlotte Hoather, winner at Llangollen last year of the Pendine International Voice of the Future, and by Welsh soprano Rhian Lois.

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He said: “The first time I came to Wales everyone was so friendly and welcoming and now in Llangollen they are the same so everyone in Wales must be like that. I really enjoyed it and the wonderful reception I have had so I promise to come back.”

Mr Kreft added: “It was fantastic to see how Charlotte has developed and what an opportunity it was for her to sing with someone like Rolando while Rhian Lois is a beautiful singer in her own right.

“They did duets and one piece when the three of them were singing together and the crowd just loved it.”

PACT supports the Eisteddfod, one of 36 arts and community organisations it backs, ranging from Gresford Disabled Bowling Club to the Wrexham Symphony Orchestra.

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As part of their activities on the Eisteddfod’s Children’s Day they held dementia workshops which saw 1100 children from local schools taking part with musicians and singers from the Welsh National Opera.

Mr Kreft said: “We had over 600 by lunchtime and I expected it to die down after that but there were over 70 at the first afternoon session and even then I didn’t think we could get to 1,000 but we ended up with 1100.

“That is what is so important about the Eisteddfod. The way it can bring people together and inspire those of all ages.”

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