Men’s Shed Opera
Written by Gavin on 7th November 2023
Members of Pontypridd Men’s Shed will play a part in an opera being staged at Yma in Pontypridd on Saturday November 18.
Presented by Swansea City Opera the uplifting and humorous production focusses on the Men’s Shed Movement and the benefits it offers within communities.
The aims of Men’s Sheds are for men to connect, converse and create.
They also offer the benefits of reducing loneliness and isolation, but most importantly, they’re fun.
Developed with the charity Men’s Shed Cymru, “Shoulder to Shoulder” is based on the experiences of Men’s Shed members which Opera Artisitic Director Brendan Wheatley and his wife Bridgett gathered through interviews throughout Wales.
“We listened to the members stories, many involving loneliness, loss and a feeling of not being useful to society.“We’ve created an opera that includes life’s ups and downs and it’s very funny.“People use humour as a coping mechanism, and when you get a group of men together, there’s inevitably plenty of good-natured banter”.
The score is composed by Lenny Sayers, a member of BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with the music ranging from the classical, jazz-nuanced sounds to musical theatre.
Shoulder to Shoulder’s ensemble features Welsh singers and musicians who have worked with the major opera houses, opera companies and orchestras, including the Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Soprano Jessica Robinson, who plays Gwen, was a 2023 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World finalist, following in the footsteps of opera superstar Sir Bryn Terfel.
“The story of Shoulder to Shoulder may be specific to one family and one group of friends, but the stories are universal.“What shone through from our Men’s Shed’s venture was the camaraderie and sense of purpose which was truly amazing.”Shoulder to Shoulder is being staged at Yma, Pontypridd, on November 18th at 7pm.Admission £8.