Launch of European Friends of Wexford Opera
Wexford Festival Opera recently launched a new and exciting expansion of its renowned Friends of Wexford Opera membership. At a special reception in the European Parliament Building in Brussels, the European Friends of Wexford Opera was formally launched.
The first official event ever held by Wexford Festival Opera in continental Europe, the event marked the start of the establishment of a foothold for Wexford Opera in Europe, with the aim of extending its Friends Membership, in addition to enhancing its audience base and profile, in continental Europe. Brussels, widely viewed as the capital of Europe, was the natural location for the launch of such a pan-European programme.
Launching the new initiative, Ambassador Rory Montgomery, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the European Union, and also the Official Patron of the European Friends of Wexford Opera, said of the event, “It is especially appropriate that the launch of the European Friends of Wexford Opera should take place during the Irish Presidency of the EU, when there is a particular focus on Ireland’s relationship with Europe. Wexford Opera enriches the cultural life not just of Ireland but of Europe as a whole and contributes significantly to the network of cultural ties which we are highlighting during the Presidency.”
Among the guests on the evening were Ireland Leinster-East MEPs Mairead McGuinness and Liam Aylward. In welcoming Wexford Opera to the EP, Mairead McGuinness, MEP for Leinster-East, praised the vision of its founders and of today's management team: “The event is of huge cultural, social and economic importance. It ranks high in the standing of opera followers worldwide and is loved nationally and locally for the colour and value it brings to the south east. For many it is a must on the opera calendar, a place to meet old friends and to make new ones. It is wonderful that the friends of Wexford opera are to be found in Brussels and around Europe”.
Wexford Festival Opera is now universally recognised as one of Europe’s, as well as the World’s, leading opera festivals as illustrated by its association with three other leading European Opera Festivals: Salzburg, Garsington and Aix-en-Provence for the coveted Best International Opera Festival Award to be announced at the inaugural International Opera Awards in London on April 22nd.
Wexford’s strong European credentials have been further reinforced by the decision of Opera Europa, the representative organisation for all opera companies, festivals, and houses across Europe and beyond, to hold its prestigious annual autumn conference in Ireland for the first time ever next October when Wexford will host all of Europe’s leading opera professionals during this year’s 62nd Festival.
Ger Lawlor, Chairman of Wexford Festival Opera, said at the launch: “Wexford’s inimitable blend of hospitality and fun, coupled with truly world class, rare opera in a unique community and festival atmosphere is one of Ireland’s great international cultural successes. In this year of the Gathering, this new initiative, the European Friends Programme, will encourage many new visitors to experience, at first hand, the very best that Wexford has to offer and ensures that the Festival continues to grow and develop for many more years to come.”