A concert starring global opera star Kate Aldrich in the iconic role of Carmen was hailed as one of the best ever at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
The American mezzo soprano stepped in at the last minute to replace Katherine Jenkins who fell victim to a virus.
She and fellow American, the world class tenor Noah Stewart, and the rest of the cast earned rapturous applause and a standing ovation at the end of the festival’s opening night concert.
They performed a special concert adaptation of George Bizet’s operatic favourite.
It’s been revealed one of the world’s greatest singers, opera superstar Bryn Terfel, along with his representative, Matthew Todd, from the Harlequin agency, pulled out all the stops to help the Eisteddfod when Jenkins pulled out.
They worked closely with the festival’s musical director, Eilir Owen Griffiths, to advise on a suitable replacement and secure Aldrich’s services.
She rose to international fame in 2002 through her starring role in the Zeffirelli production of Aida and went on to winthe CulturArte Award at the Operalia International Opera Competition. In 2006 she won the Alfréd Radok Award and the Thalia Award in the Czech Republic.
Aldrich has been described by critics as “the Carmen of this generation” and has performed the popular opera with the brilliant German tenor, Jonas Kaufmann, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
The festival’s musical director, Eilir Owen Griffiths, said: “It was absolutely tremendous. Perhaps the best concert of my time at the Eisteddfod and that’s saying something.
“It’s been a very difficult journey along the way but it was magical to see it on the stage after all the work that has been put in by so many people.
“Kate Aldrich was a wonderful Carmen at the head of a stunning cast and everyone rose to the occasion.
“What was fantastic was that when a group of people want something to happen and really work hard then the music speaks for itself and it’s not just about an individual but about getting the team right.
“The orchestra was also wonderful and it was great to have the Welsh National Orchestra back here after a few years because they’re also celebrating their 70th birthday.”
The concert was sponsored by arts-loving care organisation Pendine Park.
Proprietor Mario Kreft MBE said: “It was a truly magnificent concert that was worthy of gracing the world’s great opera houses.
“Kate Aldrich was utterly brilliant in the title role and it is no surprise she is known as the Carmen of her generation.
“Her co-star and fellow American, Noah Steward, was also wonderful as was the supporting cast.
“It was triumph and a night that will live long in the memory.”