South East Wales

Welsh Proms in Cardiff wins finance fight again

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Media captionOwain Arwel Hughes talks about the line-up

The musical director of the Welsh Proms has talked about his "battle" to keep it going, as the line-up was unveiled for its 31st season.

The event returns in July, headlined by opera singers Rebecca Evans and Dennis O'Neill, after concerns about its funding in recent years.

Owain Arwel Hughes said: "I'm a supreme optimist".

Meanwhile, Cardiff council said the future of St David's Hall could be decided "in the next couple of months".

Mr Hughes said: "I think everybody knows how I've had to battle to keep the proms going financially.

"Last year, thankfully, it proved successful. And with the support I've been given, I've been able to really develop the proms to present different forms of music that will appeal to all sorts of people.

"The arts and music in particular will never be safe, there's no guarantee. When there are financial problems everywhere, the arts are the first to get hit, that's the same as when I first started in this crazy business."

New sponsors, as well as the broadcaster Classic FM, are supporting this year's Welsh Proms, which will be held at St David's Hall in Cardiff from 16-23 July.

Image caption The Cory band playing at the launch in Cardiff

The Orchestra of Welsh National Opera and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic are among the performers, which will include several specially-commissioned works.

These will mark the centenaries of the battle of the Somme and Roald Dahl's birth and the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan disaster.

Meanwhile, Cardiff council hopes the future of St David's Hall will be sorted out in the wake of budget cutbacks.

In 2014 the council began searching for external operators to take over the running of St David's Hall and the New Theatre.

At the launch of the Welsh Proms, councillor Peter Bradbury said: "I'm hoping that in the next couple of months I will have a very positive announcement about the future of St David's Hall.

"I am determined that it will happen and it will mean these proms can be sustainable in the hall for well beyond the next 31 years, but for 50 or 60 years as well."

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