Gruff Rhys

Stephen McNeff & Gruff Rhys’s post-apocalyptic opera
based on the life of Hedd Wyn is released on Tŷ Cerdd Records

On 5 August, 2117 / Hedd Wyn will be released on Tŷ Cerdd Records in partnership with Welsh National
Opera. The piece was commissioned by WNO and features WNO Orchestra as well as a cast of young
soloists, members of WNO Youth Opera and Only Boys Aloud. The three-act, Welsh-language work is
the artistic brainchild of an unlikely but well-matched duo: ‘classical’ composer Stephen McNeff and
Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys. Together the two have forged a music-theatre piece set 200 years after the
death of iconic Welsh bard ‘Hedd Wyn’ (the nom de plume of Ellis Evans: killed in the World War I trenches
and posthumously awarded the Chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod).

In the intervening years, a nuclear disaster at the Trawsfynydd power station has displaced communities. An
intense dose of radiation has blurred the distinction between past, present and future, and the Welsh
language faces extinction. The enthralling drama instils a dystopian future with Welsh mythology and Hedd
Wyn’s own verse.

2117 / Hedd Wyn was originally commissioned for cinematic distribution followed by TV broadcast,
and the audio was recorded in 2017 with McNeff conducting. Plans for the film were put on hold and
the recordings have slept on hard-drives until this release.

The release will be launched with an event on the #Encore stage at the National Eisteddfod on Friday 5
August at 3pm, where Gruff will be interviewed by Sioned Webb, and soprano Ellen Williams, baritone
Dafydd Allen and répétiteur Rhiannon Pritchard will perform excerpts from the work.
Composer Stephen McNeff said: “The release of 2117 / Hedd Wyn is a milestone in the development of this
opera, a project I have wanted to fulfil for over ten years. Working with Welsh National Opera – a company I
grew up with and watched since my earliest interest in opera began – has been an ideal outcome, as has
collaborating with such a range of unique and diverse creative talents and the cream of young Welsh

Gruff Rhys said: “It was an adventure and an education getting to work with Stephen McNeff on creating the
libretto for 2117 / Hedd Wyn. His skill and enthusiasm were such that everyone involved in the piece was
inspired to go a step further in order to create this unique record. It’s great to see it make the light of day at

WNO Director of Programmes and Engagement Emma Flatley said: “The young singers and performers
worked so hard in the development of this production, working alongside WNO Orchestra and Only Boys
Aloud and I am over the moon that the recording will now get the profile it deserves, to showcase young
operatic talent at its best in Wales. We look forward to an opportunity to be able to perform the full piece in
the future, funding dependent.”

Deborah Keyser, Director of Tŷ Cerdd, said: “Tŷ Cerdd’s record label is all about bringing Welsh work to
audiences across Wales and further afield, and we’re so thrilled that this partnership with WNO is enabling
us to platform Stephen and Gruff’s extraordinary work. This opera is Welsh to its core – from the language,
to Hedd Wyn himself – and we know that the music and story will resonate with people around the world.”

2117 / Hedd Wyn is available to pre-order now and will be available to purchase on the Tŷ Cerdd website
( and to stream on all major platforms from 5 August.