Sport Sam Warburton is the first to sign a Welsh central contract

Warburton became the first to agree a deal with the Welsh Rugby Union that will keep him playing for the Cardiff Blues

Doubt on Jones

Wales' injury woe goes on. Derwyn Jones has joined the list of injured international players just four weeks before the defending Five Nations champions travel to Paris for the opening match, writes Robert Cole.

Rugby Union: Lewis on the move to Cardiff

Emyr Lewis will become a Cardiff player this week in time to make his debut for the Swalec Cup holders at the Arms Park against Bridgend in their Heineken League opener on Saturday. After a summer spent agonising over a move from his first club, Llanelli, where he won his 28 Welsh caps so far, the 25-year- old policeman is ready to commit himself to a new cause. After seven fine seasons at Stradey Park, the man who has played all over the Welsh back row is now poised to battle for the No 8 berth at Cardiff. 'Llanelli threw me out and I knew then I had to look for another club,' Lewis said. 'Cardiff was the only real option for me. I know I've got to fight for my place, but I've never been afraid of having to prove myself.' Lewis will become the third international in the Cardiff back-row, joining Hemi Taylor and Owain Williams. The blue and blacks also have B caps in Mike Budd and Howard Stone to accommodate.

MUSIC / A gilded rose: Stephen Walsh reviews Rennie Wright's Der Rosenkavalier in Cardiff

It was Der Rosenkavalier that Goran Jarvefelt was staging for Welsh National Opera when he died in 1989. Now Rennie Wright (staff producer at the time) has taken the Carl Friedrich Oberle designs and devised an elaborate staging of his own, almost entirely recast, and with a new conductor, Carlo Rizzi.

Rugby Union / Swalec Cup semi-finals: Laity lifts Cardiff

Cardiff . . . . . .8

Ice Hockey: Sympathy for the Devils: Flyers down Cardiff

CARDIFF DEVILS' record of 18 successive Premier Division wins disappeared in dramatic fashion at Fife Flyers on Sunday, writes Steve Pinder. The score was 1-1 at the end of the first period but, at the end of the second, Fife led 4-2 - still an assailable lead.

Letter: Welsh Tories

MARY BRAID'S article on John Redwood ('Cool Redwood ruffles the Welsh Dragon', 6 February) surprised me. Wales is by no means a Conservative-free zone. Only two weeks ago more than 200 party faithful from the Cardiff North constituency gathered for supper with Lord Archer, raising some pounds 3,000 for party funds in the process.

Ice Hockey: Cardiff are confident: Benson and Hedges Cup final

SCOTLAND play Wales on English ice with the winner carrying off the Benson and Hedges Cup when Cardiff Devils meet Murrayfield Racers today at the Sheffield Arena.

Rugby Union: Jenkins outkicks Cardiff

Cardiff. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Architecture Update: Cardiff contest

SIR Norman Foster and Partners are the only British architects chosen to go through to the second stage of the competition to design the pounds 40m Cardiff Bay Opera House. Sir Norman, unlike other competitors, will not have to take part in the first stage of the competition, which is open to all registered architects. The Cardiff Bay Opera Trust, a consortium that includes the Welsh Arts Council, Cardiff Bay Development Corporation and the Welsh National Opera, plans to raise most of the project's capital through the National Lottery and Millennium Fund. The three other 'preselected' architects are Mario Botta (Italy), Rem Koolhaas (the Netherlands) and Rafael Moneo (Spain).

Goddess sculpture goes to Cardiff

TWO months after the Getty Museum in California announced its pounds 7.6m purchase of Canova's The Three Graces, and awaits news over its export licence application, the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff has bought the next best thing for the nation.

Rugby Union: Young displays old virtues

Cardiff. . . .9

Letter: Cardiff Bay barrage

Sir: Following your feature on the Cardiff Bay barrage, Mark Lintell's letter (14 May) emphasised how necessary it is for us to change our attitudes if we are to achieve sustainable development for the future.

OPERA / Out of favour: Stephen Walsh on Cardiff's new production of Donizetti's La Favorita

FOR THE third time in four operas in their current season, Welsh National Opera are regaling their audience in Italian, which may seem doubly curious in the case of Donizetti's La Favorita, since the original language of this typically Parisian salad of sex, piety and politics in the gardens of the Alcazar was French. Friday's opening brought dark mutterings in the press-box about a conspiracy between the management and Cardiff's enormous population of ice- cream and pasta salesmen. But what may concern the less suspicious-minded is the thought that, now WNO have that miracle of modern science a surtitle screen, they may never give an opera in English again. If, as one might also fear from the current season, they never again stage an opera written since 1900, we shall know for certain that the pot noodle has finally triumphed over the Swansea loaf; and that would be a shame.

OPERA / Hogging the ball: Verdi, revived but unwell in Cardiff: Un Ballo in Maschera - WNO, Cardiff

Is Un ballo in maschera Verdi's most brilliant opera or his silliest? The answer may well be both. I don't myself think that Goran Jarvefelt's Cardiff production, revived on Monday, makes it any more 'sensible' by transferring it back from Boston (where the censor made Verdi set it) to Stockholm, where Gustavus III's assassination actually took place. But what's clear is that Ballo needs fluent singing if its musical brilliance is to carry the drama, as the best Verdi critics have always maintained it should. And at the moment Welsh National Opera achieve this only in patches.
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