Ground-breaking opera project

The Welsh National Opera is singing the praises of a leading firm of chartered accountants in North Wales.

Coxeys are backing a pioneering WNO project to put the opera on the streets of Wrexham.

The opera-loving accountants, who have offices in Wrexham and Saltney, have been unveiled as a WNO Community Champion.

WNO are aiming to recruit a total of 10 Community Champions over the next 12 months. Another local company, care organisation Pendine Park, have also signed up.

The project is part of a three-year programme of work titled Wrexham Street Songs which WNO is delivering across the county of Wrexham.

One of the main highlights is a “soap opera with a difference” called Nine Stories High which will be influenced by the real life stories of local people attending a series of WNO workshops.

The first of the monthly episodes will be performed live in Wrexham on Saturday, October 1, and the project will culminate in a promenade performance throughout the town in May next year.

Coxeys Director Anthony Lewis is delighted the firm has become involved in the “exciting project”.

He said: “We do take social responsibility very seriously and we saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community.

“The arts can be very uplifting and we have several people here who go to the opera on a regular basis but the importance of this project is that it demonstrates that opera can and should be enjoyed by everybody.

“It’s not an elitist art form and the idea of this opera initiative is to reach out to the community, to make it relevant and accessible..

“Good music is good music, whatever the genre and we are lucky in Wales to have a world class opera company that we can call our own.

Senior Administrator Laura Watkins is also looking forward to being part of the project.

She said “This is Wrexham Year of Culture so we thought it was entirely appropriate to become WNO Community Champions.

“This is a great opportunity to build on the momentum created by the National Eisteddfod that was held in the town over the summer. It is going to help enrich the cultural life of the area.”

Mike Walmsley, WNO Development Manager , said: “We are delighted to welcome Coxeys as one of Welsh National Opera’s first Community Champions.

“It’s a new initiative for the Company and one we value tremendously. The aim is to bring  local businesses and the community of Wrexham right into the heart of WNO through a variety of projects and opportunities, from creating a soap opera set in the town through to workshops exploring all kinds of skills linked to making opera and music theatre.

“We look forward to working with local businesses and the people of Wrexham over the next three years.

” Judging by the response to date from businesses like Coxeys we’ve found a way of doing something rather special and we’re very excited at the prospect of developing the initiative in partnership with our Community Champions and the wider community.”

According to Claire Cressey, WNO Producer for Nine Stories High, it was a fun way of introducing people to the real thing.

She said: “I think the big surprise will be realising how many parallels there are with television soap operas, which are so familiar to most and actually borrow a lot from traditional opera.

“Forget fat ladies singing; opera is full of intrigue, scandal, murder, dysfunctional families, and villains plotting. You name it, opera’s got it.”

Among the special guests with cameo roles is Camilla Roberts, originally from Wrexham, and a guest artist with Welsh National Opera in its autumn 2011 season.


WNO counts on Coxeys….Pictured are Anthony and Laura Watkins from Coxeys.

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