General booking opens for 60th Anniversary Wexford Festival Opera

Tuesday 7th June, general booking opened for the 60th Wexford Festival Opera. Booking, which commenced at 10am, has so far been brisk and sales for this year’s programme, including daytime and evening events, are already approaching 50% of maximum capacity at the close of priority booking.

General booking opens for 60th Anniversary Wexford Festival Opera

The 2011 Festival will mark 60 years since the first Festival took place in Wexford in October 1951, which opened with a production of The Rose of Castile by one-time Wexford resident, Michael William Balfe. Since that humble beginning Wexford Festival Opera has grown to be one of the premier cultural events in Ireland, with a firm fixture on the international Opera Festival calendar.

The 60th Wexford Festival Opera, which will feature artists from 11 different countries, will span 16 days, opening on Friday, October 21st and running until Saturday, November 5th (more details below).

In the Wexford tradition, this year’s 3 mainstage productions are rarely-produced operas, although 2 of the 3 composers are well-known within the opera world and to Wexford’s loyal audiences.  The first of the 3 operas is La cour de Célimène an opéra comique, by the composer of Mignon and Hamlet, Ambroise Thomas; a work, immensely successful in its day, now fallen by the wayside.  Also on the bill is Maria, by the Polish composer Roman Statkowski, written in 1903.  This magnificent composition is strangely ignored even in its native Poland and the announcement of the forthcoming Wexford production of Maria has generated great excitement in the world of opera.  Thirdly, and in honour of our 60th season, the Festival will produce its fifteenth opera by Gaetano Donizetti, his 1839 melodrama, Gianni di Parigi.

Also for the first time, audiences can enjoy a special daytime package.  Arrive in Wexford in the late morning, enjoy a lunchtime recital in St. Iberius Church, lunch in Whites of Wexford Hotel and a ShortWork opera, all for a fully inclusive price of just €55!  Day-trippers to Wexford can avail of public transport and be back on the road by 5pm if desired.

The 3 mainstage operas will run in 4 cycles of 12 evening performances in total, with the ever-popular Gala Concert featuring as a stand-alone event on Wednesday, October 26.  For the full schedule, programme details or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.wexfordopera.com  Tickets can be purchased by phone +353 (0)53 912 2144, in person from Wexford Opera House box-office or online at http://www.wexfordopera.com  This year, whatever method you use to book tickets, there are no booking fees.

A new booking and programme innovation for this year is the Wexford Festival Opera i-Phone app, which is also now available to download free from i-Tunes.

Wexford town also hosts a vibrant fringe festival coinciding with the Opera Festival that includes art exhibitions, drama, music, historical tours and of course the famous singing and swinging pubs competition.  Details can be obtained on http://www.wexfordfringe.ie

Wexford is the place to be in October and now it is even easier to get there by air, with flights from the UK to Waterford Airport with Aer Arann.  Fly to Waterford airport from Birmingham, Manchester, London-Luton or London-Southend and receive a 10% discount and a complimentary return bus transfer to Wexford courtesy of Wexford Opera Festival, exclusively for Festival ticket-holders.  See http://www.aerarann.com/wexfordopera  for booking and further details.

The 60th Wexford Festival Opera is grant aided by the Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland, and Wexford County and Borough Councils.

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