The latest 'On Song' column from the Carmarthen Journal and the Llanelli Star

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in West Wales) from the Carmarthen Journal and the Llanelli Star -

It’s regarded as one of the highlights of the musical year in Burry Port – the annual production by Burry Port Opera.
This year, the featured opera is Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saens.
It will be performed at Burry Port Memorial Hall on Wednesday, October 19, Friday October 21 and Saturday October 22.
The characters and cast include –
Delilah, Lauren Easton; Samson, Philip O'Brien; High Priest, Michael Dewis; Abimelech, Gareth Long; Hebrew Elder, Paul Morgan.
The opera will, of course, feature the Burry Port Opera Chorus and Orchestra, Leader Mansel Hughes.
The producer is Keith J Clarke and the conductor is Ryan Lee.
The opera centres on the Biblical story of the Israeli hero Samson and the sensationally beautiful Delilah.
Samson aims to free his Hebrew nation from Philistine captivity. Delilah, a Philistine maiden, has other ideas. Through her charm, she endeavours to distract him from his plans. But Samson is determined to choose his God and his people and spurns Delilah's false affection. Scorned, she resolves to destroy him and his legendary strength.
Michael Dewis, baritone, plays the High Priest.
Michael has sung many principal roles with the Royal Opera and English National Opera as well as appearing often in concert and recital with Orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic and the LSO. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Opera Course at the Guildhall School and the National Opera Studio. Awards include the Schubert Prize of Great Britain, the Lieder Prize at the Guildhall, the Harold Rosenthal Award for Opera and the Anna Wyburd prize for Lieder. Recent Operatic roles have included Papageno and Germont for Regents Opera, Il Conte for Opera A la Carte, Escamillo for Opera Theatre Company Dublin and Don Giovanni with Regents Opera. 2015 included singing Germont for the Bermuda International Festival, Michel in Il Tabarro for Fulham Opera and Ankerston for Burry Port Opera.
Philip O'Brien, tenor, plays Samson.
Philip studied on the Graduate and Opera courses at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, becoming a Wolfson Scholar and winning the Patrick Libby prize for Acting. He was a finalist in the Wagner Society Competition, London and a finalist at the Seattle Opera International Wagner Competition. He has sung principal roles at Glyndebourne Festival, and Savonlinna Festival and with many Opera Companies including English National Opera, Nationale Reisopera , Amsterdam Opera Koor , Opera North and Scottish Opera. He has a busy concert diary and is a regular soloist in opera gala concerts for Raymond Gubbay Limited.
Lauren Easton, mezzo-soprano, plays Delilah.
Australian Lauren is currently establishing an exciting young career firmly centered in the UK. A highlight of her career has been her ongoing relationship with the Glyndebourne Festival, which began in 2011. This season, she is performing one of the Leerbubers (apprentices) in the upcoming revival of Sir David McVicar's Die Meistersinger. In her native Australia, Lauren’s performance activity has included appearances with the Australian Pops Orchestra and The Song Company, Australia's premier six-voice acappella ensemble. A formidable prizewinner and scholarship recipient, she was able to continue her studies at the prestigious Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff, under the guidance of renowned Welsh tenor Dennis O'Neill. During her period of study in Cardiff, she was a semi-finalist for the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme of London's Royal Opera House Covent Garden and was the mezzo-soprano soloist for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China
Ryan Lee, the musical director, is something of a hero in Burry Port.
Ryan, a retired Head Teacher, spent 15 years in English schools before returning to Wales in 1978. Whilst in England he gained valuable experience with various Operatic Societies as a singer and conductor. He joined Burry Port Opera in 1979 and to date, has conducted 35 productions. He has been instrumental in producing many operas rarely performed by amateur societies: La Sonnambula, Maria Stuarda, Macbeth, Mefistofele, I Puritani, A Masked Ball and Moses. He conducted performances of Cadoxton Opera’s last production Die Fledermaus and is in great demand as a conductor of Cymanfaoedd. He is also Musical Director of Burry Port Male Choir. In the 2010 Eisteddfod at Glyn Ebwy, Ryan was honoured by the Gorsedd of Bards and made a Musician Oviate member (wearing green robes) and taking the name Ryan Morlais in recognition of his contribution to Welsh culture.
In other news, Llanelli Choral Society members are looking forward to performing at St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire on Saturday, October 15.
The event is being billed as a Journey of World Music.
It wil also feature the Hywel Girls Choir and the Hywel Boy Singers, the Angelicus Choral and Haverfordwest Male Choir.
For your tickets, please call 07545 268841.
On Saturday, 15th October, there’s a special 'Canu o'r Cwm' celebration evening at Pontyberem Memorial Hall.
The events marks 50 years of choral singing in the Gwendraeth Valley with guest artists including Shân Cothi and others as well asCôr Meibion Caerfyrddin, Côr Meibion Dyffryn Aman, Côr Meibion Dyffryn Twyi, Côr Meibion Porth Tywyn and Côr Meibion Llandybie.
Tickets are now on sale for A Night With The Stars, the annual showcase concert of Loud Applause Productions, the popular production company run by Llanelli-based Cerith Owens.
A Night With The Stars takes place on Saturday 12th November at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, 7.00pm start.
This is a Gala Concert featuring the ever popular soprano Shân Cothi, the world famous Morriston Orpheus Choir, the brilliant young violinist Charlie Lovell Jones and an array of very talented vocalists from Loud Applause Rising Stars.
It will be a bilingual evening of first class musical entertainment to suit all tastes - choral, opera, classical musical theatre, jazz.
The host is BBC TV and radio personality Garry Owen and the accompanists for the Rising Stars are Andrew Pike and Rhiannon Williams Hale.
The busy ladies of Côr Curiad are planning Christmas already.
A special Christmas-themed evening at Stradey Castle is already a sell-out.
So, the ladies are staging a second performance on Thursday, December 1.
Côr Curiad, along with accompanist Craig Oldham, will be staging a festive evening of Christmas songs, Carols, Mulled Wine and mince pies set in the beautiful surroundings of Stradey Castle.
Guest performers include Sarah Lewis-Meredith, Steffi Lewis-Meredith and Rhiannon Taylor-Searle.
All proceeds from the event are in aid of Ty Bryngwyn Hospice in Llanelli.

Robert Lloyd works as a media consultant –
If you have any news about the choral scene in Llanelli, the please contact him on 07777 683637 or email


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