The international Llangollen Eisteddfod festival takes place on 5-10 July with some of the biggest names in Welsh music on the bill, alongside stars from further afield. It’s the most prestigious choral event in the world and where Luciano Pavarotti made his name.
This year’s event is the 70th, and the line-up is fitting for such an auspicious anniversary, as well as being an opportunity for one of the headline acts to celebrate his own milestone. Llangollen is about an hour’s wonderfully scenic drive from Caernarfon, through the Llanberis Pass and along the historic A5 road. Stay with us and you can enjoy the show AND the scenery!
World renowned opera star Bryn Terfel can hold a stage alone, but this time around he will be accompanied by Joseph Calleja, an equally respected Maltese tenor.
The performance comes off the back of Terfel’s 50th birthday celebration concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and he is delighted to be sharing his own anniversary year with that of the Eisteddfod.
“It’s appropriate that as I’m celebrating my 50th year I’ll be appearing at the festival’s 70th celebration,” he said. “I always enjoy returning to Llangollen Eisteddfod and I’m delighted that I’ll be joined by Joseph Calleja.”
The duet is also a chance for Calleja to repay Terfel for putting in an appearance at the Maltese tenor’s own festival, attended by 15,000 people in a town square on the island – and the pair also have an appearance together in Beirut in late July.
Kate rose to international fame in 2002 through her starring role in the Zeffirelli production of Aida. In fact, Aldrich has been hailed by critics as “the Carmen of this generation” and has performed the popular opera with Jonas Kaufmann at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
According to the talented mezzo soprano, she’s looking forward to her first ever visit to Llangollen.
“Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod is an iconic event and I can’t wait to follow in the footsteps of operatic giants like Luciano Pavarotti who have graced the famous pavilion stage in the past.
“Carmen is one of my favourite roles and I’ve heard that the audience in Llangollen is a very knowledgeable and appreciative one.”
Finally, the festival draws to a close with a performance from its new vice-president, music maestro Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.
Holland’s first appearance was just three years ago, but he vowed to return, and this time around he has also taken on the role of vice-president.
The man known to most people simply as Jools also admitted that he doesn’t actually know how big his band is – guessing at about 22 members.
“We had a wonderful time when we last performed in Llangollen, which is such a beautiful little town,” he added. “I loved the atmosphere, flowers, the appreciative audience and we met some fabulous people. It’s going to be an honour to appear.
“The standard of young musicians and dancers who travel from all over the world to appear at Llangollen Eisteddfod is testament to the organisers and volunteers who put in all the hard work to put the festival together.”
Jools also pointed out the significance of the 70th anniversary – the very first Llangollen Eisteddfod was arranged following the end of World War Two, as a way to promote peace and harmony among all nations.
As tourists and locals share the audience space at this year’s event, in the presence of some stunning headline acts, the 70th festival continues the legacy that was established in this picturesque town back in the 1940s.
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