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Multi-million pound legacy for UK conservatoire and opera company

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) and Welsh National Opera (WNO) are set to receive generous gifts from the late Philippa and David Seligman. The combined legacies will exceed £3m and will provide lasting support for the training of singers and musicians, as well as create opportunities for young artists to perform on a professional scale.

RWCMD’s David Seligman Opera School will use part of its bequest to directly invest in its productions, offering students hands-on industry experience and guidance from renowned practitioners from the international world of opera. The legacy will also create much-needed new scholarships for opera and other music disciplines in the Seligman name.

WNO Youth Opera, an award-winning training programme for young people who love to sing and perform, will use the bequest to present a showcase performance every year. The legacy also allows for a continuation of a talent development pathway that has historically linked both WNO and RWCMD.

Carys Davies, a previous member of WNO Youth Opera and current RWCMD student, said, ‘Singing with WNO Youth Opera was an invaluable experience and has influenced my training at the Royal Welsh College. My work with WNO has also given me an incredible insight into professional life after studying here at the Welsh conservatoire and has been an experience I will never forget.’

RWCMD Director of Music Tim Rhys-Evans said, ‘I had the very great pleasure of knowing David and Philippa for many years and saw first-hand their belief in young people and the power of singing to enrich young lives. Their passion for opera in particular was something incredibly dear to them, and the need for this artform to be made accessible and relevant to young people of every background was a major driving force behind their philanthropy. 

‘David knew the impact that legacies of any size can have, and now his exceptional gift will ensure that future generations of artists will continue to be supported for many years to come. Diolch and thank you. We will be forever grateful.’  


  • The WNO Youth Opera showcase, The Pied Piper of Hamelin & The Crab That Played With The Sea, is being performed in the Weston Studio of Wales Millennium Centre on 26 and 27 May 2023 
  • The David Seligman Opera School’s next production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel will be in the RWCMD’s Richard Burton Theatre from 1 to 5 July

Photo: RWCMD student Carys Davies in WNO Youth Opera’s production of The Magic Flute © Craig Fuller