Posted: Sat 24th Dec 2011

Santa Saved By Angel In Wrexham Soap Opera for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Dec 24th, 2011

A down on his luck Santa who was left distraught after his wife left him was saved by an angel from M&S this Christmas Eve.

Shoppers at Eagles Meadow in Wrexham watched in awe as the Welsh National Opera performers played out a seasonal soap opera backed up by a community choir formed specifically for the event.

Ruth Evans, Welsh National Opera Production Manager, explained the musical interlude was part of Nine Stories High, a nine-part soap opera which is being performed and filmed by Welsh National Opera on the streets of Wrexham as part of their three-year residency in the town.

She said: “We are taking opera out into the heart of local communities and showing that opera can, and very often does, depict everyday life.

“The story today is all about a down-on-his-luck Santa who is saved by his own angel of good fortune, played by our star guest performer Mezzo Soprano Ann Atkinson.

“We have recruited our own community Wrexham choir to back the performance which has proved a big hit with shoppers and visitors. The whole event is being filmed and will be available to watch on YouTube and Facebook.”

Mezzo Soprano Ann Atkinson, who is also the Artistic Director of the North Wales International Music festival and was previously the musical director of the Fron Male Voice Choir, said she thoroughly enjoyed the performance.

She said: “I normally get to play wicked witches or an evil old woman so to play the role of an angel was quite a thrill.

“I live in Corwen so visit Eagles Meadow quite regularly anyway but it was a real thrill to bring opera, as an art form, to a wider audience who may have thought opera perhaps wasn’t for them.”

The soap opera was put together by composer Elfyn Jones in just a few days and, although he composed the music, the libretto, or words, were written by Ben Gwalchmai.

He said: “We literally had a matter of a couple of days to put the whole performance together. We also had the concept of using a choir made up entirely of local people so we could get the community involved.

“We held just one rehearsal at Wrexham Museum but I have to say the choir have been superb and have really helped make the whole performance special.”

Community choir member Teresa Roberts, of Wrexham, joined the choir along with her granddaughters Trinity Bosworth, four, and Grace Bosworth, five.

Teresa, who works as a carer, said: “I joined the choir after seeing and advert in a community magazine. I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in event.

“I think it really shows that opera can be enjoyed by everyone. And of course the fact that Santa is saved by his own angel of good fortune was a perfect start to Christmas!”

The performance will be available to view on Youtube soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

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