Open air opera returns to south Shropshire

Music lovers were treated to an open-air operatic performance from a group conducting its post-lockdown tour.

The Mid Wales Opera concert at Bishop's Castle's SpArC Theatre.
The Mid Wales Opera concert at Bishop's Castle's SpArC Theatre.

Mid Wales Opera (MWO) has been playing a host of dates for outdoor shows since coronavirus restrictions were relaxed and the latest performance took place in Bishop's Castle – the 21st the group has put on since it resumed performing.

The spectacle saw the operatic group taking over the playing field in front of Bishop's Castle's SpArC theatre, with the audience able to pull up a seat and listen while taking in the great outdoors.

The performance featured tenor Robyn Lyn Evans and Mezzo Stephanie Windsor-Lewis, along with Jonathan Lyness on the piano.

The Mid Wales Opera concert at Bishop's Castle's SpArC Theatre
The audience enjoys the open air production from Mid Wales Opera

The group said it had been "wonderful to be back on the road".

Bridget Wallbank, production manager, said: "It has been fantastic and we are really appreciating how much our audiences are loving having live music back.

"It is also great for the singers and the musicians to have the opportunity to perform and it is just thrilling to see the response, it is wonderful."

Mr Lyness, also MWO's music director, said the series of concerts, which began on May 15, were aimed at helping people remember the importance of live music.

Jonathan Lyness on piano at the Mid Wales Opera concert
Robyn Lyn Evans performing at the open air concert

He said: "These short concerts feature an eclectic mix of joyful, entertaining and uplifting musical treats, from the world of song, opera and cabaret and much else besides – a chance for us all to remember and celebrate the importance of live classical music, and go home feeling all the better for it.”

MWO were on tour with their production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro when the first lockdown began in March 2020.

Like many arts organisations they have managed to keep going through a mix of digital programming and pop up concerts when possible, but have been determined to get back to presenting live music.

The audience enjoys the open air production from Mid Wales Opera
The audience enjoys the open air production from Mid Wales Opera

Executive Director Lydia Bassett said: "MWO has always been about bringing high quality live opera and classical music to places where it wouldn’t normally be performed.

"We’re delighted to be able to support singers and musicians, many of whom have struggled with little or no work during the pandemic, and bring live music back to audiences across rural Wales by performing outdoors in carefully controlled spaces right across the country."

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