A theatrical welcome to Simon Rees: Dramaturg



I work as a dramaturg in theatres and opera houses, providing dramaturgy - translations, surtitles, programme articles, lectures and research - on a freelance basis.

Opera Surtitles

I translate the librettos of operas from Italian, German, French, Czech, Russian and Hungarian and convert them into English surtitles to be shown on screens in theatres during performances, so that the audience can understand what is being sung, and the story-line behind the performance.

Theatre Surtitles

I also provide surtitles for spoken theatre, often using English translations of Welsh or other languages. These are displayed on screens for the benefit of the audience.

Libretto Translator

I have worked as a translator for thirty years, translating short stories, poems and non-fiction from Italian, French and German into English.

Pre-Performance Speaker and Art History / Music Lecturer

I began my career as a lecturer at Kyoto University. For twenty-three years I gave pre-performance talks for Welsh National Opera at the New Theatre, Cardiff and the Wales Millennium Centre. I currently lecture on opera, song, orchestral and chamber music, fiction, poetry and art. Venues have included the National Museum of Wales and the Royal College of Physicians, London.  I offer my services as a lecturer on a wide variety of topics related to music, literature and the arts.

View example pre-performance opera introduction presentations from WNO here:

Opera Tour Guide

I have lectured on opera tours for Martin Randall Travel since 1999, taking groups of opera-goers to festivals all over Europe, including Salzburg, Savonlinna, Berlin, Pesaro, Aix en Provence, Torre del Lago Puccini and Drottningholm. I have also acted as a guide on these tours. Please approach me if you are interested in booking me for similar tours.


opera dramaturg 


My first novel, The Devil's Looking-Glass, was published in 1985 by Methuen, and won a Trask Prize. Since then I have published two novels with Penguin, and have recently published three novels and a play, available on Amazon Kindle.


My first collection of poems, The New World, was published in 1984. I have since published poems in Poetry Wales, Poetry Salzburg Review, Borderlines, Fourteen, Candelabrum, Light and other magazines in Britain and abroad.

In 2014 Poetry Salzburg published my latest collection of contemporary poetry, much inspired by my life in Wales. As a British poet I write my poetry collections in the contemporary style but often with deep historical references. 


I write lyrics for composers to set for voice with piano or other instruments, and have recently worked with the Welsh composers Mervyn Burtch, Peter Reynolds, Ross Cohen and Dan Phelps. Songs of mine have been performed by Gail Pearson, Kate Woolveridge and other Welsh singers.


I wrote the world's shortest opera, The Sands of Time, with Peter Reynolds, and this appeared on Record Breakers and in the Guinness Book of Records. I also wrote The Fifer with Scottish composer Peter Davidson, Twm Sion Cati and The Song Contest with Mervyn Burtch, and am planning further work.

Writing Mentor

I helped set up the Verbal Arts Association with poet Anne Cluysenaar and others in the early eighties, promoting creative writing teaching in schools and colleges. I have mentored novelist for Literature Wales (formerly the Welsh Academy and Academi) and seen several of my mentorees into print. I am available for mentoring and editing services for fiction, non-fiction and poetry on a freelance basis.

Historical Researcher

I began my work as a historical researcher for a book by the late Lord Rothschild on his family history, and have engaged in historical research for many opera productions by Welsh National Opera and other companies, as well as conducting research for my own historical novels. I am willing to undertake or consult on historical research for your projects on a freelance basis.

For further information on any of the above services please click the linked section title or email: simon.rees@dramaturg.co.uk