Remember Paul the German Octopus? Whose correct predictions during the 2010 World Cup were the talk of the sports pundits? Unfortunately Paul died (of natural causes) in late 2010, so this year world famous Welsh National Opera (WNO) step up to the World Cup prediction plate with a unique event in Torbay on Friday 4 July.

4 July is the first day of the World Cup quarter finals, and WNO will play a concert at The Princess Theatre in Torquay entitled ‘The World of Opera’. The first half of the concert features eight famous opera and classical orchestral numbers from eight World Cup countries.

The audience at the concert will be issued with a wall chart in their programme to enable them to take part in an interactive prediction process that brings together world-class sport with world-class opera. The eight countries are paired up into the four quarter final match ups. The audience simply have to choose their favourite from each match up and put them through to the semi finals on the chart. During the interval they will have to review the pieces and pick their finalists and their winner.

Composers and pieces of music have been chosen to represent each country. Can William Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue fire England to Victory? Perhaps the power house that is Wagner’s Lohengrin Act 3 Prelude will drive Germany to glory? Or will the flair and joy of Barroso’s Aquarela deliver the Jules Remy trophy for the hosts Brazil?

The completed charts will be collected by referees and the results collated. Towards the end of Act 2 the winner will be announced. One lucky audience member’s chart will be drawn from the entrants and they will receive (and keep) a replica World Cup trophy on behalf of the winning country. The winning country will be announced just prior to the finale of the evening when world-renowned tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones will perform Nessun Dorma.

Councillor Dave Butt, Executive Lead for Culture and the Arts at Torbay Council – which is promoting WNO’s three year residency in Torbay - said: “We are confident that the winner of the World Cup of Opera will win the World Cup. This kind of crowd sourcing of results has been around for centuries, and through the medium of opera and harnessing the power of swarm intelligence – the wisdom of the crowd - we hope the audience at the concert will correctly predict who will lift the Jules Remy trophy in Rio!

“This might at first glance seem like a bit of fun, but it has a serious side. We are committed with WNO and our funders Arts Council England to making opera and classical music more accessible and reach new audiences. To predict the outcome, audiences will be thinking about and talking about the wonderful music they have heard and how it made them feel. We hope not only to correctly predict the winner of the World Cup but to develop a new audience for classical music.”

Peter Harrap, Chorus and Orchestra Director from Welsh National Opera said: ‘Welsh National Opera has performed opera, concerts and delivered all manner of projects in the South West of England over many years. Collaborating with Torbay Council in this way and through our annual residency has given our work in this important area of the UK a new momentum and has given us yet another new audience to interact with. We are passionate about pushing the boundaries of what opera can be for people and this project, together with the associated concerts on 3 and 5 July is yet another opportunity for us to do this.’

Notes to editors

These pieces of music have been chosen to represent their countries:

Walton Spitfire Prelude and Fugue England
De Curtis Torna a Sorrento Italy
Delibes Les Filles de Cadiz Spain
Meyerbeer L'Africaine aria - O Paradiso Portugal/African countries
Piazzolla Libertango Argentina
Barroso Aquarela do Brasil Brazil
Wagner Lohengrin Act 3 Prelude Germany
Puccini Madam Butterfly Act 1 final scene Japan

The concert at the Princess Theatre on 4 July is one of three dates WNO will play in Torbay as part of Creative Torbay’s Doorstep Arts initiative – bringing quality productions to your doorstep – other events taking place are: 3 July: ‘The Seasons’ at Spanish Barn, Torre Abbey, Torquay and 5 July: Artists of Welsh National Opera: The Chamber Ensembles, Torre Abbey, Torquay. Full details and tickets:

PHOTOS AVAILABLE – WNO and hi res image of World Cup Opera Wall Chart







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