South Korean baritone Joo Won Kang, makes a welcome return to Wexford after his critically acclaimed performance in Donizetti’s rarely performed opera, Maria de Rudenz. Opera News called him ‘…the voice of the Festival.’ But despite all the fanfare and the colourful characters he plays...he’s just a regular guy.
From a little town in Illinois to New York, soprano Brenda Harris sits down with us to talk about her life as a world-travelling Opera Singer. She makes her Wexford debut singing the role of Carlotta in Dinner at Eight by William Bolcom, as well as directing the ShortWorks production of La fanciulla del West by Puccini. What can’t she do?
Director, Renaud Doucet is a French stage director and choreographer and is one half of the creative team Barbe & Doucet. He makes a welcome return to Wexford to direct his fourth production, Il bravo by Saverio Mercadante, set in 16th century Venice, where he and André now make their home. Renaud took time out of his hectic rehearsal schedule to talk to us about Il bravo and why he is so passionate about his profession.
This year I am making a welcome return to Wexford Festival Opera having performed the role of Gretel in the 2015 Shortwork Hansel and Gretel as well as chorus in Koanga and Le Pré Aux Clercs. This year I am the proud winner of the PwC Emerging Young Artist Bursary. There have been many highlights; a chance to work with legendary actress, director and fellow Cork woman Fiona Shaw has been particularly special for me. Having studied lots of her work during my undergraduate degree in drama and theatre studies at U.C.C and both being former pupils of Scoil Mhuire secondary school, I was delighted to be cast in the role of Handmaiden in Cherubinis Medea. It was a privilege to work with her one on one and even for such a small role the depth of character building was fascinating.
Coming to the Festival, but feel a little intimidated by opera? Not to worry! We’re here to help. All you really need to know to enjoy yourself at the Festival is that you have a love of music and live performances on an epic scale - with the added pleasure of dressing up and making a grand occasion of the evening. Think about it: you don't need to be a wine-expert to enjoy a glass or two, do you? Opera is no different. We can help with the rest! However, if you would feel more comfortable having a bit of opera lingo under your belt to enhance your Wexford Festival Opera experience, here are few terms that may help draw back the curtains of intimidation (and a few phrases you can throw into conversation for fun!)