Bryn Terfel is closely associated with the new centre
Welsh star Bryn Terfel is to feature in new productions planned by the Welsh National Opera when it moves to its new home at the Wales Millennium Centre.
There will be six wide-ranging new opera productions at the Cardiff Bay-based centre in the first 18 months.
Terfel will return to the WNO for his first performance in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman.
The bass-baritone sang a famous aria from this opera when he first established himself as an international class singer in the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1989, and it is in Cardiff that he will sing the full role in the opera for the first time.
Anthony Freud, WNO's general director, said: "Moving into our new home at the end of next year gives WNO the most exciting opportunity and challenge in its history.
"We have waited nearly 60 years for a home, and we have withstood many false starts.
"Now we have the thrill of seeing that magnificent building bursting out of the ground, and of announcing our plans for our opening seasons - these are exciting days for all of us."
'Homeless for too long'
Bryn Terfel said: "For many years I have supported the campaign to build a major lyric theatre in Wales, a country with such a deep-rooted and artistic heritage which has given me the springboard to an international career.
Bryn Terfel as Falstaff, one of his finest roles
"Welsh National Opera have been homeless for too long, and this new building will certainly show the company off at its best - and I am looking forward to being part of their early life in the WMC."
Between spring 2005 and summer 2006, the WNO a will mount six new productions in the WMC - Mozart's The Magic Flute, Berg's Wozzeck, Verdi's Don Carlos, Lehar's The Merry Widow and Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa in addition to the Flying Dutchman.
In addition to the performances at the WMC, WNO starts its new series of Russian opera performances in February 2004 at the New Theatre, Cardiff.
Anthony Freud added: "Performances of major pieces in the Russian repertoire have been few and far between outside London in the past 30 years.
"Our new music director, a young Russian eager to share in his country's operatic masterpieces, will give audiences in Wales and across the UK an ever-increasing feat of some absolutely glorious music-theatre."
The WNO opening season in February/March 2005 at the WMC will include Verdi's La Traviata and Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) and Pagliacci (Leoncavello).
Welsh tenor Dennis O'Neill will take the lead in both of the latter.