Published on 01/02/22


Music Theatre Wales celebrates 40 years of contemporary opera in 2022

Published on 01/02/22

This year marks 40 years since Cardiff New Opera Group, which would later become Music Theatre Wales, performed for the first time. The piece was ‘The Lighthouse’ by Peter Maxwell Davies, who the company would continue to work and collaborate with on future productions. MTW would go on to develop further commissions, engaging with exciting new voices and creating new works.

Over the last 40 years, MTW has commissioned over 30 new operas, premiered exciting works in the UK and has been a part of the changing music landscape and a strong voice in contemporary opera. In 2021, the company started its new artistic programme, ‘New Directions,’ which is challenging what opera is and who it is for. The pieces from this initial cohort have been seen both across Wales and the UK, as well as internationally.

Discussing the upcoming anniversary, MTW Director Michael McCarthy said

‘Music Theatre Wales has always been an innovative company, exploring new voices and commissioning new works. I am delighted that we are celebrating 40 years of creating new music and being a voice for Wales in Contemporary Opera. As the company has changed and evolved, it is exciting to look back at where we came from, highlights of our history and imagine what the future will look like.’

2022 will see MTW continue to collaborate and commission new works. This June will see the premiere of ‘Violet’ with music by Tom Coult and libretto by Alice Birch. Originally planned for 2020, this opera is created by the most exciting voices of now, and gives a taste of what the future of opera could be. Music Theatre Wales has also been continuing to work with the London Sinfonietta to support the development of a new work by Welsh composer Luke Lewis and Cardiff filmmaker and video artist Simon Clode, which will premiere at Southbank Centre, London in February.

Over the next 12 months, MTW will be reflecting on our history, engaging in exciting conversation with artists and looking back at some of our work. We look forward to sharing these stories once again with our audiences.