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oseph Parry’s Arianwen had been performed at the Theatre Royal, Cardiff on the 1st of June 1890, and was touring some other theatres in Wales. Arianwen, the principal soprano, is daughter of a simple Welsh fisherman, Twm Shon Twm, and not the Arianwen who is mentioned in the 'Iolo Manuscripts' in the National Library of Wales, and who was the twenty-fifth daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, king of Brycheiniog in mid-Wales in the fifth or sixth century. The principal tenor is the hero of the opera and the lover of Arianwen. At first he is known as plain 'Walter Mostyn', an ordinary fisherman, but the many workings of the plot finally bring him out, as one might expect in nineteenth-century opera, as Sir Robert Vychan. The names of these characters in the captions creates an unusual and oblique relevance to current dramatic events in South Wales. The captions also quietly celebrate Dr Joseph Parry, who, from working in the mines and ironworks from the age of nine, became a very successful composer and performer in Wales, who is still widely known around the world for his hymn-tunes.

Last modified 6 April 2022