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Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 12:47 GMT
Curtain falls on Tower opera

Tower Colliery The opera tells the 'David and Goliath' story of the colliery

The first English performance of a new opera based on the Tower Colliery story has been cancelled due to lack of funding.

A Welsh MP had hired a top London theatre so that English audiences could see the opera 'Tower' after the Arts Council of England refused to subsidise the performance.

Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd had booked the Hackney Empire theatre for a one-off show on St David's Day.

But the Brecon-based opera company, Opera Box, has announced that the performance has been cancelled due to a shortage of cash.

Last autumn, Ms Clwyd accused the Arts Council for England of being "parochial" after it turned down funding for an English tour of the production.

Wider audience

Opera Box was originally awarded 290,000 of Arts For All Lottery money by the Arts Council of Wales to both commission and tour the new opera.

But the lack of backing from the Arts Council for England for an English tour prompted anger.

Ms Clwyd said her actions were aimed at supporting the company and bringing the play to a wider audience.

"Tower is a very good opera and a very interesting story," said Ms Clywd.

Tower was written by Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott and tells the David and Goliath story of Tower Colliery near Hirwaun in the Cynon Valley.

'Great drama'

The miners made history during a triumphant march back to work in 1995 after using their life savings to buy the pit, saving it from closure.

"This is a marvellous opportunity to create work around real people and real situations," said Mr Hoddinott.

"The story of Tower Colliery is a great drama and its success shows that real heroes can still emerge."

The libretto has been written in both English and Welsh by TV and radio scriptwriter John Owen.

Opera Box said it hoped to perform 'Tower' in London in the autumn, when when the lead Robert Lloyd, will be available
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See also:
11 Nov 99 |  Wales
MP hits right note to back opera
23 Oct 99 |  Wales
New opera celebrates colliery's dramatic story
21 Sep 99 |  Wales
Opera chronicles Tower Colliery survival fight

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