Wales

Welsh National Opera singer proposes on Wales Millennium Centre stage

  • 24 May 2013
  • From the section Wales

Most opera singers are content to take a bow at the end of their performance but Jon Roche went a step further - and went down on bended knee.

The tenor, 38, then pulled out a ring and asked chorus member Polly Greenwood, 31, to marry him in front of 700 cheering opera lovers in Cardiff.

Ms Greenwood said: "I didn't have to say yes, the audience said it for me!"

The pair are appearing in the Welsh National Opera's (WNO) production of Wagner's romantic opera Lohengrin.

Mr Roche has been dating his partner for nine years after the pair met in opera school.

He hid the ring in his costume then waited for the final curtain call during the dress rehearsal at the Wales Millennium Centre before striding across the stage to steal the show.

Ms Greenwood said the proposal was a " complete and utter shock - I thought he had lost his mind to be honest".

"I saw him walking to the front of the stage and then it was all kind of a blur from then onwards," she said.

"It was completely out of the blue and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

"It was such a great surprise and to have so many people we see every day with us and to have an audience.

"I didn't even have to say yes, the audience said it for me!"

'Right occasion'

The couple, both freelance opera singers from Ireland, have been appearing on stage together for the last five years.

Mr Roche, of Clonmel in County Tipperary, decided to propose on stage to celebrate the pair both been offered full-time contracts with the Cardiff-based opera company.

He said: "I'd already thought of proposing and was trying to think of the right occasion.

"During the curtain call we took our bows and I got the go from the stage management, then walked out the front and did it.

"It's the most nervous I've ever been on stage - I'm just so glad she said yes."

He said that not many people were aware that the traditional wedding march tune, the Bridal Chorus, was from Lohengrin and that had partly inspired him to propose.

The couple plan to marry next year.

A WNO spokesman said: "It was a fitting climax to the show."

Coincidentally, Lohengrin includes the Bridal Chorus, which is better known at weddings as Here Comes the Bride.

Ms Greenwood and Mr Roche were part of the production's opening night on Thursday in front of Prince Charles, who is WNO patron.

After being introduced to the prince, Mr Roche said: "He was very kind. He asked us how we met, where we were from, how we came to be in Cardiff working at Welsh National Opera and wished us the very best for the future."

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