A Trimsaran farmer’s daughter is heading for the Llangollen International Music Festival and the biggest night of her life.
Mezzo-soprano Eirlys Myfanwy Davies, 28, is set to appear at the 70th Classical Gala Concert alongside two singing superstars, Wales’s great bass baritone Bryn Terfel and Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja.
Eirlys, who was crowned the International Eisteddfod’s 2014 Voice of the Future, says she almost fell off her chair when she got the call.
She said: “Eilir Owen Griffiths, the festival’s Music Director rang me and said he wanted me to appear at the 70th Gala Concert. I thought great, sounds good but then he said I‘d be appearing with Bryn Terfel.
“That’s when I almost fell off the chair. After that he added that Jospeh Calleja would also be appearing and I was just gobsmacked. It took a while for the enormity of what he was saying to sink in.
“This will be the biggest night of my life without a shadow of a doubt. I have met Bryn, who is lovely, but never met Joseph. I do follow him on social media and he seems a warm and funny man and I can’t wait to meet him.”
Eirlys, who last year finished her opera studies at Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, added: “I’m going to be singing two pieces, one in each half of the concert. I’m performing O Mio Fernando from La Favorita and an aria from Sampson and Delilah.
“It’s going to be an amazing evening and without doubt the pinnacle of my career so far. You never know who is going to be in the audience or watching on TV.
“I’m also hoping Bryn and Joseph will offer advice too. Who knows where this opportunity could lead. Just being able to have it on my CV is amazing.
“It’s such a massive honour and privilege. I’m looking ahead and want to take a few more steps up the ladder if I can. I need to start looking beyond Wales and the UK if I’m to really achieve my opera goals.
“Appearing alongside people like Bryn Terfel and Joseph Calleja can only help. I’m just so grateful for the opportunity.
“I won’t be nervous, just excited. We have a rehearsal with the orchestra at Glyndwr University’s Catrin Finch Centre in Wrexham and then a sound check on stage at Llangollen at 5pm on the Thursday evening before the concert.
“I suppose it’s only then that it will fully sink in. My mum, dad, brother and sister are coming to the concert plus friends from Wales, London and Scotland. I wouldn’t have achieved anything without the backing of mum and dad that’s for sure.”
Eirlys says since winning the Voice of the Future competition at Llangollen in 2014 she been kept pretty busy.
She said: “Having finished my studies in Glasgow I went on to London and worked at the Young Artist’s National Opera Studio from September of last year until this June.
“I’m also the understudy for the role of Portia in the Welsh National Opera’s tour production of the Merchant of Venice which runs from September to November. That’s a UK premiere and will be exciting.
“I’m also still competing where I can and won the Dunraven Young Welsh Singer of the Year in March and was a finalist in Cardiff for the Welsh Singers competition in May. And I’m kept pretty busy with concerts all over Wales.”
But Eirlys’s appearance in Llangollen for the 70th Classical Gala Concert won’t come cheap as she has splashed out on two new dresses.
She said: “It’s not too bad if you are a man but women need new outfits all the time and they aren’t cheap! Men can get away with wearing the same suit or tuxedo – we women can’t.
“I had to have two new dresses for Llangollen, one for each half of the concert. I have a dressmaker in Carmel who makes all my dresses.
“I’ve had a final fitting and I’m so pleased. I’m going to feel like a princess when I walk out on that stage. I just hope I don’t wake up and find out it’s all been a dream.”
Llangollen International Music Festival Music Director, Eilir Owen Griffiths, says Eirlys deserves her chance on the big stage.
He said: “I recall one of the 2014 Voice of the Future adjudicators, Bruce Rogers of the USA saying Eirlys’s performance was astonishing and that she ‘owned’ the stage and I agreed with him.
“Part of her prize was that she would have an opportunity to appear at an evening concert at Llangollen and I have no doubts whatsoever that she will give a professional and perfect performance in our 70th Classical Gala Concert.
“It’s a huge opportunity for her and I’m sure she is going to make some people sit up and take notice.”
He added: “I have been closely following Eirlys’s career since she won the Voice of the Future in 2014 and she deserves her chance.
“The competition is designed to give young artists the opportunity to showcase their talent and give their career’s a helping hand.”
To find out more about the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and for tickets visit www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk