Opera singer Wynne Evans comes straight to the point and admits. “I love being in the garden but preferably with a large gin and tonic. I’m rubbish at gardening. My wife, Tanwen, looks after all the flowerbeds and plants. I’m the grass cutter; I chuck the mower around now and then. And I’m rubbish at pruning too, I’m what I would call an ‘industrial pruner’.”
Wynne, who is well known for playing the flamboyant opera singer Gio Compario in what has been voted the most irritating TV adverts ever, goes on to explain his own garden is in need of a makeover at the moment. “We have had an extension built and the garden was trashed so we are having to redo it all. Thankfully my in-laws are good gardeners and are advising,” he admits, “my father-in -law is obsessed with water features so we are looking at building a wildlife pond.”
Currently appearing on stage in the new opera, Anna Nicole, at the Royal Opera House, Wynne is often away from home for weeks at a time which, he explains, is another green-fingered handicap, “Gardening takes so much time and you’ve got to keep on top of it all. Leave it for a couple of weeks and it’s just had it.” He laughs. “I have sometimes been tempted to do some hanging baskets and I’ve always wanted an Italian-style courtyard but if I planted anything, it would die as soon as I turned my back.”
“My father used to grow some veg, tomatoes, beans and herbs and although I didn’t inherit his green fingers, he is definitely where I get my voice from. After a few beers he always sings Max Boyce songs while I accompany him on the piano – usually in a key too high for him, just for a laugh. Max is a real legend and when we were at the Wales v England Rugby International recently it was great to introduce him to my dad. My father was speechless for once,” he recalls.
Wynne’s own good humour is evident in the Go Compare adverts and he is extremely complimentary about the successful Newport-based company. “Filming the ads is always great fun and it’s still a real priority for me. My debut album is released on 21st March and the Go Compare gigs have made that all possible. It’s a dream come true and I wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for them. It’s a lovely company, no airs or graces and we all take it in turns to make the tea at the office; it’s very Welsh in that way,” he adds proudly.
“I’m just a normal guy; Mum was a hairdresser and Dad was a carpenter. I have been singing opera for 15 years now and I wanted the album to be ‘honest’, to be something that you can stick on on a Sunday morning and listen to. We are launching it on the 8th March at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen, the Theatre my Mum used to run, and the launch will be shown on S4C on Mother’s Day.”