Review: Love and Loss at Wales Millennium Centre

The Diff Daff had the pleasure of attending the classical music concert at the Wales Millennium Centre, which took place on Sunday, the 29th of October.

Here is what our contributors, Kelsey Roberts and Fiona Mansell, had to say about the evening.

A change of venue and a sold-out show brought us Love & Loss by the Welsh National Opera orchestra.

Originally having been set in St. David’s Hall in Cardiff city center, the show was relocated to the BBC Hoddinott Hall in the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

Due to the temporary closure of St. David’s Hall, the Millennium Centre has become a staple venue for performances to take place.

“The harmonious sound of the orchestra playing was bliss for the listener.”

Playing three pieces and a running time of approximately two hours, the orchestra strum, trumpet and sang their way through the concert.

The harmonious sound of the orchestra playing was bliss for the listener. There wasn’t a note out of place.

With the intensity of the pieces, the double bass and percussion brought that across fantastically and made you feel like a battle was being fought out through song.

The dramatic change in pace and tone brought in by the wind instruments and strings brought lightness and harmony to the hall.

“An ode to life”

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s tragic play of Romeo and Juliet, the WNO Orchestra and WNO Music Director Tomáš Hanus, navigate the turbulent relationship between the Montagues and the Capulets.

They painted a vivid image of doomed love, fate, and sacrifice in Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture.

An ode to life in all its intensities, Strauss’ Four Last Songs is a sublime swan song and a fond farewell to the world.

This collection of songs saw soprano Chen Reiss make her first appearance with the company accompanying them with her gracious singing alongside the orchestra.

Hitting the high notes with ease, Reiss brought an emotional performance and accurately portrayed what it’s like to have love and lose it again. It was beautifully sung.

Completing the program was Brahms’ Symphony No.1 which combines the intracity of a Bach fugue with the energy of a Beethovenian masterpiece.

The drama sure brought the concert to a close with intense playing from all the musicians on the stage and brought the audience to the world of love and loss through the beauty of music.

“This concert led me on a journey of my own,”

I have never personally been interested in classical music, but after watching this performance, I have grown a lot more respect for musicians.

The difficulty of not only performing the songs but also having to navigate the music and the act of page-turning takes real skill and commitment.

This concert led me on a journey of my own through my interest in this genre and the passion that each musician on that stage had for the pieces inspired me to explore different music.

It was a joy to watch and a joy to listen to and would recommend it to anyone who has the ear for classical.

Words by Kelsey Roberts

A 5/5 performance

The Welsh National Opera guides us through an emotional journey of romantic melodies in their orchestra performance of Love and Loss at Wales Millennium Centre.

Formed in 1970, they have been established as one of the finest orchestras in the UK and this performance demonstrates why.

The selection of melodies complements each other as we experience different emotions of love each as powerful and moving as the next.

The orchestra and songs work in a symphony. A truly engaging performance.

Conductor Tomáš Hanus has been a prevalent member of the Welsh National Opera since 2016.

Hanus started this performance with a short speech after the sudden change of location after St David’s Hall had to shut after finding the roof was unsafe.

Despite it being a last-minute location change The Wales Millennium Centre, the orchestra appeared at home. The centre appeared to be a more than fitting setting.

Hanus spoke about the importance of being together and embracing culture.

He emphasised how glad he was that people found their way here, despite difficulties in location.

Togetherness began a sentiment throughout the performance as they united us in the journey of love.

“Transitioning from joy, tragedy, loss into peaceful ends.”

First, in this performance, we have Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture.

Inspired by William Shakespeare’s tragedy, this is one of the composer’s most beloved works which the Welsh National Orchestra captured.

The emotions of joy and pain from a love story are something we’re all familiar with, which made for a perfect start in grabbing the audience’s attention.

Emotions heighten as we move on to Strauss’s Four Last Songs. We feel the cycle of life and love beautifully.

Soprano Chen Reiss also joins the stage for her first performance with the Welsh National Opera. Reiss’ voice compliments the orchestra fitting in with ease.

Finally, after a short interval, Brahms’s Symphony No 1 begins. A Beethoven masterpiece that was delighted at the hands of conductor Tomáš Hanus and the Welsh National Opera.

They capture the somber beginning and the calming ending. A perfect way to conclude.

The Welsh National Opera truly entertained their audience with their rendition of these beautiful songs. They work in perfect synchrony to capture the audience’s member attention.

Transitioning from joy, tragedy, and loss into peaceful ends. The concert was a  true masterpiece of emotions that all audience members could enjoy.

Words by Fiona Mansell

We want to say a big thank you to the Welsh National Opera for providing us with this opportunity, and to Sophie Revell for all of her help during this process.

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