One of the UK’s most talented young singers is preparing for a starring role in the New Year.
Soprano Meinir Wyn Roberts, from Caernarfon, will be among the highlights at the Viennese Gala Concert at St Giles’ Church, in Wrexham, on January 2.
The concert will also feature the NEW Sinfonia orchestra created by two musical brothers from Wrexham, Robert and Jonathan Guy.
The orchestra has just taken another step towards becoming a fully professional outfit after receiving a grant of £5,000 from the Welsh Arts Council.
In June next year Robert has been invited to conduct at festival in Jeju, in South Korea.
But first he’s looking forward to the concert in Wrexham with Meinir whose career is also blossoming after she was named the International Voice of the Future at this year’s Llangollen International Eisteddfod.
Robert and Jonathan, from Wrexham, both studied at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music and are on a mission as mentors and to make classical music more accessible to a wider North Wales audience.
He said: “Things are going so well with NEW Sinfonia which I founded along with Jonathan more than four years ago. It’s our joint dream to have a fully professional North Wales-based orchestra and that dream is slowly becoming a reality.
“We have more than 40 musicians now and the aim is to have a fully fledged, professional orchestra based in North Wales.
“It’s fantastic and we are out regularly performing a couple of times a month. Sometimes we have more than 40 musicians and sometimes 10 or fewer. That’s why we decided on calling the orchestra NEW Sinfonia.”
“Having a solo artiste like Meinir Wyn Roberts performing with us is amazing. She has an incredible voice and she is, without doubt, a huge star of the future.
“We have already performed at the North Wales International Music Festival in St Asaph which was a brilliant experience as we worked with composers Karl Jenkins and Professor Paul Mealor, who wrote the music for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“And we are going to be performing a major concert in March next year alongside three top choirs which is wonderful. We are finding regular work now and find we are performing two, three or even four times a month.”
The musicians that make up NEW Sinfonia all are aged between 18 and 28 with most of them coming from North Wales.
They rehearse at Trinity Presbyterian church in Wrexham, where the Cantorion Rhos choir which Robert also conducts, also perform.
Younger brother Jonathan, a clarinettist, says he is also excited about how NEW Sinfonia is developing.
He said: “Working with my brother is great and works so well because we trust each other.
“Our dream of a really professional orchestra based in North Wales and made up of musicians from the area is becoming a reality and that’s wonderful. We have worked incredibly hard for more than four years to get NEW Sinfonia off the ground but there is no doubt the musicians really believe in what we are doing.”
Meinir says she is delighted to be appearing with NEW Sinfonia.
She said: “It’s wonderful for singers like me to have the opportunity to perform with a big orchestra. Normally, I only get to work with a pianist and it makes a big difference having a large orchestra behind you.
“It’s been an amazing year and winning the International Voice of the Future competition at Llangollen was the start of a fantastic summer for me.
“I went onto win the W Towyn Roberts main scholarship at the National Eisteddfod in Meifod and then flew out to Columbus Ohio where I performed as a soloist at the North American Festival of Wales.”
She added: “I enjoy working with NEW Sinfonia and Robert Guy has been fantastic in allowing me to choose the pieces I will perform.
“I’ve chosen some personal favourites such as Rusalka’s Song to the Moon, Handel’s Piangero, Gaetano Donizetti’s Norina’s aria and Je Veux Vivre from Romeo and Juliette.”
Meinir, a former pupil of Ysgol Sir Hugh Owen, Caernarfon, has her sights firmly set on a career in opera and will be auditioning for a place in one of several opera schools once she has completed her Master’s Degree in Music at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
She said: “I finish my master’s next summer and then, hopefully, it’s opera school in London. That’s where I want to be and my dream is to be on stage with the Welsh National Opera or at Covent Garden or any of the big opera venues.
“I know I need more experience singing a full main role and I attend acting classes as part of my masters degree. But opera is all I want to do, it’s my dream.”
For more information and tickets, which are £12, £10 concessions, £3 students and under 18s or £25 for a family ticket, visit www.newsinfonia.org.uk and for more information about Meinir Wyn Roberts visit www.meinirwynrobertssoprano.com