Welsh National Opera
Welsh National Opera is the flagship performing arts company of Wales with an international reputation for the highest artistic standards, accessibility and outstanding live experiences. The Company has a well-established record of identifying young singers, musicians, conductors, composers, librettists and directors and helping them to develop their talents under the guidance of WNO professionals. Many acclaimed artists including Bryn Terfel, Rebecca Evans, the late Sir Charles Mackerras, David Pountney and Katie Mitchell worked with WNO in their early opera careers and have remained loyal to the company.
Welsh National Opera provides an opportunity for promising young talent to operate at the heart of one of the UK’s leading opera companies and to gain invaluable experience in the working of a highly professional company. Supporting a different operatic discipline every two years, the Genesis Assistant Director was replaced by a newly created Genesis Trainee Répétiteur post in September 2014.
Genesis Trainee Répétiteur
In 2014 Welsh National Opera and the Genesis Foundation selected David Doidge as Genesis Trainee Répétiteur. This post replaced the 2012-14 Genesis Assistant Director award and offers a promising young répétiteur a two-year contract and the opportunity to work on new productions and revivals, coach singers, play as part of WNO’s orchestra and accompany artists in private recitals, whilst being mentored by WNO’s Head of Music, Russell Moreton. Read an interview with David Doidge about his time as Genesis Trainee Répétiteur here.
On taking up the Genesis Trainee Répétiteur post, David said:
“I’m really excited to be joining WNO, having already worked on and off with the Company over the last four years. I’m really looking forward to being a part of the music team and to this fantastic opportunity to work with world-renowned musicians and singers.”
David studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff both as an undergraduate pianist and on the postgraduate Opera and Vocal Studies programme. David is a frequent guest performer at La Mortella on the Italian island of Ischia (home of Sir William and Lady Susana Walton), and has also performed with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. He has worked with WNO previously, most notably during WNO’s 2013 performances of Berg’s Lulu where he was the on-stage pianist.
Genesis Assistant Director
The Genesis Assistant Director post, awarded to up and coming young director Polly Graham in 2012, has provided her with the opportunity to work on WNO’s newest work while being mentored by Chief Executive and Artistic Director David Pountney. Beginning her two-year contract with the company in January 2013, Polly started her apprenticeship working with David Pountney on WNO’s new production of Berg’s Lulu, before going on to work on other productions including Britten’s Paul Bunyan and Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream. Her final project, Unheard Voices – CREW, supported by WNO, was an informal performance piece celebrating the unsung heroes of the opera world: the stage crew.
Reflecting on her time as Genesis Assistant Director in International Arts Manager, Polly Graham says:
“Over the two years of working at Welsh National Opera and being mentored by executive and artistic director David Pountney, I’ve found that a mentor is really a combination of teacher, parent and friend.
The Genesis Foundation gave me the rare opportunity to hone my craft at the heart of one of the UK’s leading opera companies.
I have also learnt a huge amount about technical theatre since being here, and I have absolutely loved developing my knowledge of technical theatre through working on and touring our main-stage shows.”
At the time of awarding the position to Polly, Welsh National Opera Chief Executive and Artistic Director, David Pountney said:
“Out of an extensive and very highly qualified list of candidates, we are delighted to have chosen Polly who impressed us with her energy, her intensity and her flair. She will bring a positive force to her work at WNO, and in return will gain invaluable experience in the working of a highly professional company. We are very grateful to the Genesis Foundation for this valuable creative opportunity to develop young talent, and in turn as an organisation to benefit from her participation.”
John Studzinski, Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, said:
“The Genesis Foundation is committed to fostering emerging artists and I believe the best way to do this is to enable them to work with and learn from an outstanding mentor, which they will have here in David Pountney. The Genesis Assistant Director scheme will provide an all-too-rare opportunity for a promising young director to operate at the heart of one of the UK’s leading opera companies and we’re excited to be working with Welsh National Opera for the first time in this capacity.”
Polly read English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin and completed an MA in Text and Performance at RADA. She has worked as an assistant director to Frederic Wake-Walker, Stephen Lawless (Buxton) and Jenny Miller (Longborough). Polly has also undergone staff director programmes at WNO and the Royal Opera House, and has worked as a workshop leader for the education departments of ENO and Glyndebourne. She is co-founder of Barefoot Opera, and together with Jenny Miller co-directed her first production of Alcina at the alternative summer opera festival Grimeborn in 2011.