Double first for three tenors with Eisteddfod opener and release of album

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WITH just three days to go until the National Eisteddfod opening concert, it’s a busy time for three of the stars as they prepare to release their new album.

Rhys Meirion, Aled Hall and Alun Rhys-Jenkins are all big names in the music world and are also becoming increasingly famous as Wales’ Three Tenors. Their first album, launched on Monday the Maes this year, will undoubtedly sell well.

“There’s a wide range of music on the album. We’ve got Welsh, Italian, Spanish and English songs. We were lucky enough to have an orchestra and new work and arrangements by Caradog Williams, John Quirk, Tim Rhys-Evans, Catrin Finch and Robat Arwyn,” says Alun Rhys-Jenkins, and it’s clear the audience at the Eisteddfod’s opening concert on Friday will be given a taste of the new album.

“We’ll be singing a number of the songs from the album in the concert,” he says, “so the audience will hear new songs like ‘Gwinllan’ by Caradog Williams, using Saunders Lewis’ famous words, and ‘Ave Maria’ by Robat Arwyn. And no concert with the Three Tenors would be complete without some of the world’s most famous songs like ‘Nessun Dorma’ and ‘O Sole Mio’. There will be plenty of variety on the night and the three of us are looking forward to performing at the opening of the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham.”

This year, as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations, the Eisteddfod is collecting the memories of the people of Wales.

Alun said: “Winning the Towyn Roberts Scholarship was one of my Eisteddfod highlights – and the three of us have all won this prize in turn.

“I’ve also got some less ‘official’ memories as well, like camping on Maes B in my younger days – a real eye opener, but loads of fun!!

“I’m very fond of the Eisteddfod and enjoy competing and meeting old friends – and eating the hot donuts on the Maes – mmm! There’s nothing as good as the Maes donuts!”

Alun is looking forward to performing with Fflur Wyn in the opening concert, and this is not the first time for the two of them to appear on stage together.

“Last year we portrayed lovers on stage in Mozart’s opera, ‘Seraglio’ in the WNO’s new production, so we know each other pretty well by now!”

But Alun won’t be able to relax for long after the concert on Friday night, as the Three Tenors will be working hard promoting the album.

“We’ll be performing on the Maes during the week, and then I’ll be starting work on the ‘Marriage of Figaro’ with the English National Opera – and I’m moving house in the middle of everything!”

So it’s a very busy time for the singer who joined the Welsh National Opera in 2005, and who turned freelance in 2009.

Over the past year he has worked on ‘The Return of Ulysses’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with the ENO, played the role of the witch in Hansel a Gretel with the Iford Arts Opera Company, and has also worked ion the Three Tenors’ first CD as well as performing in concerts across the whole of the UK.

Wales’ Three Tenors will be joining Fflur Wyn, Ysgol Morgan Llwyd Choir and a local mass male voice choir for the Eisteddfod opening concert.

A limited number of tickets are still available online at www.eisteddfod.org.uk or by calling 0845 4090 800.

The Wrexham and District National Eisteddfod is held on Lower Berse Farm off Ruthin Road, Wrexham from July 30-August 6, with the opening concert at 8pm on Friday in the Pavilion.

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