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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Llan Operatic casts professional singer as Nanki-Poo


 
* Professional opera singer Christopher Diffey.


* The full cast of the Mikado in rehearsals. Picture: Barrie Potter.

 
* From left, Helen Belton (Yum Yum), Jim Allen (Pooh Bah)
and Jo Potts and Karen Davies (Yum Yum’s friends). Picture: Barrie Potter.

LLANGOLLEN Operatic Society has chosen a rising young professional singing star for one of the leading roles in its forthcoming production of The Mikado.
Australian-born Christopher Diffey, who is widely acknowledged to be one of this generation’s up and coming tenors and has performed throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, will play Nanki-Poo in an updated interpretation of the classic Gilbert & Sullivan operetta which runs at Llangollen Town Hall from May 14-17.

And, according to the society’s artistic director Chrissie Ashworth, the role will hold no surprises for 33-year-old Christopher who has played Nanki-Poo twice recently for renowned touring company Opera Della Luna.
She said: “I’m sure our audiences will be delighted that we have been fortunate enough to secure the services of Christopher who is undoubtedly one of the best young professional opera stars in the country at the moment.

“It’s also a huge asset that he comes to us fresh from having played Nanki-Poo to great acclaim for Opera Della Luna, in Aberystwyth and Oxford, only in March.    
“I know that everyone who sees it is going to just love the show, which is an updated version of The Mikado set in the 1970s, complete with mini-skirts, flared trousers and dodgy hairstyles.

“Christopher is guaranteed to bring his own touch of class to the role of Nanki-Poo and I’m positive he will fit in perfectly with the rest of our cast – many of whom are also seasoned veterans of playing in The Mikado – and can look forward to receiving a warm welcome from our audiences old and new.”
After relocating from Melbourne in Australia, Christopher Diffey graduated from the Royal Academy of Music Opera Course before making his London debut at Saint Martin-in-the-Fields with the London Pro Arte Orchestra and the East London Chorus.

He performed Triplet 1 in James MacMillan’s Clemency for Scottish Opera at the Edinburgh International Festival, before returning to London to create the role of Karl in the new crime thriller opera The Face at London’s Gray’s Inn.

In 2011 he played Fenton in Verdi’s masterpiece Falstaff at the Longborough Festival and performed in two world premier pieces at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival.
 
Christopher’s stage work includes playing Rodolfo in OperaUpClose’s Olivier Award winning production of La Bohème, Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville with Opera Brava and Colonel Fairfax in Yeoman of the Guard at the Buxton International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival where he received rave reviews.
 
Appearing opposite Christopher in Llangollen’s The Mikado will be Helen Belton as his beloved Yum Yum, whose two friends are played by Jo Potts and Karen Davies.

The demanding role of Katisha will be taken by Justine Bradey, while society stalwarts Dave Short and Jim Allen are The Mikado and Pooh Bah respectively and Richard Mascarenhas is Koko, the Lord High Executioner. Kieran Davie takes the role of Pish Tush.

Musical director is Owen Roberts and some of the memorable songs featured in the show include A Wandering Minstrel and Three Little Maids. Co-director/choreographer is Pamela Williams.

·        Tickets, priced at £9 and £7.50 concessions, are available from Llangollen Tourist Information Centre in Castle Street (01978 860828), Jades Hair & Beauty in Oak Street and Stella Bond (01978 860441).  

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