SOME 500 schoolchildren from Ebbw Vale and Abergavenny came together to perform a very special rendition of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.

The reduced version of the opera was prepared by London Opera Productions and performed as part of the Llantilio Crossenny Festival at the weekend.

The children from Pen Y Cwm Special School – which forms part of the Ebbw Fawr Learning community – and Cross Ash School were aged from eight to 19.

Festival director, Eleanor Farncombe, said: “It went extremely well. It was so good. They had no inhibitions. They were fantastic. It’s the first time we’ve worked with disabled children. Some of these children had never seen a live performance.”

Ms Farncombe and the London Opera Production company had been working with the pupils since February on singing and artwork days. All the scenery used in the performance was made by the pupils.

She said: “It was the whole package, everything about how to put on a show.”

Seven professional singers were among the hundreds of children singing in the two performances on Saturday – both of which were to sell-out audiences.

Terminally ill Calum Rees, 12, was among those taking part after he won the festival’s Junior Young Composer Award in 2012.

“It was because of him that we did it,” said Ms Farcombe. “He had asked why can’t you come to my school.

“When you see them doing this, you think that’s brilliant. They just went for it.”