Booking opens Tuesday 5 June at 10:00
General booking commences on Tuesday, 5 June for the 61st Wexford Festival Opera. For 61 years, hundreds of thousands of visitors have made their way to Wexford in search of buried operatic treasure. This year the Festival will open on Wednesday, 24 October with L’Arlesiana by Francesco Cilèa. While the opera is rarely performed, many people will be familiar with the title as it features the famous tenor aria known as Federico’s Lament, È la solita storia del pastore.
The second mainstage production will be an opéra comique by Emmanuel Chabrier. Written in 1884, Le Roi malgré lui (The King in Spite of Himself) had an ill-starred stage history, but its lively and melodic musical score was a success from the outset and was greatly admired by Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky. With vocal fireworks, comedic cunning, an exuberant chorus and lively dances, all driven by a clever orchestral score, this production captures the essence of Chabrier’s satirically witty comic opera. This production of Le Roi malgré lui is a co-production of Wexford Festival Opera and the Fisher Center at Bard College.
This year Wexford Festival Opera will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of British composer Frederick Delius with a production of what is considered to be his finest opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet, and screenings of Ken Russell’s 1968 biographical film about Delius, Song of Summer. The opera is a passionate tale of forbidden love with music that depicts the defencelessness and innocence of youth. The opera includes the celebrated orchestral interlude The Walk to the Paradise Garden. This production will be the only opera by Delius to be performed in Ireland or the UK during this anniversary year.
All 3 operas will be supported by a 42-member Wexford Festival Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of Wexford Festival Opera, consisting of some of the most promising musical talent from Ireland and around the world.
The ever-popular ShortWorks programme will continue with 2 productions, with a unique adaptation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and a one-act comic opera, A Dinner Engagement by Lennox Berkeley.
Approximately an hour in length, the ShortWork operas allow the audience to taste a rare work or enjoy a condensed version of more familiar opera. A special daytime package is on offer for €55 which includes a Lunchtime Recital, 3-course lunch and a ShortWork opera. The timing of events in this daytime package will allow audiences to travel easily to and from Wexford by car, bus or rail.
Marking the bicentenary of the birth of Waterford-born composer, William Vincent Wallace, 2 dedicated recitals of his work will be performed by well-known specialist of Wallace’s music, Irish pianist Una Hunt and mezzo-soprano Máire Flavin.
The packed programme also includes Lunchtime Recitals, chamber and orchestral concerts and will also feature a performance by the recent winner of the 2012 Dublin International Piano Competition, the 19 year old Russian pianist Nikolay Khozyainov, who will perform on Saturday, 3 November in Wexford Opera House.
Wexford Town also hosts a vibrant Fringe Festival to coincide with the Opera Festival which includes art exhibitions, drama and musical performances, historical tours and of course the Singing and Swinging Pubs competition. Full details www.wexfordfringe.ie
UK-based visitors to Wexford can fly via Waterford Airport with Aer Lingus Regional from London, Manchester or Birmingham. Wexford Festival Opera will provide dedicated complimentary return ground transit exclusively for Festival ticket-holders. See www.aerlingus.com for booking.
The 61th Wexford Festival Opera is grant-aided by the Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland, and Wexford County and Borough Councils.