As we are coming to a close on our 67th Opera Festival , we sat down with the Assistant Company Manager, Sheldon Baxter and Artistic Intern, Alessandro Ambrosini, who took time out of their busy schedules to tell us about their experience during Wexford Festival Opera.
Can you tell me a little about your roles within the Opera Festival?
Alessandro: I am an artistic intern and my role is to help with the daily tasks in the office. I assist in the filing of company documents, scheduling of practice rooms, and the dispersion of the daily schedule, just to name a few. And this is my first experience in a theatre! I studied product design at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA Milan) and this internship was a fantastic way of gaining new work experience.
Sheldon: I’m the assistant company manager and my duties include supporting the company manager Nicky Kehoe with looking after the general goings-on of the festival. This year there were almost two hundred members that made up the opera company and it was our responsibility to make sure that everyone was looked after and that everything ran smoothly as we navigated a busy schedule of 3 main stage shows, 3 ShortWorks, afternoon recitals, etc. Oh, and I also performed the role Gustave in Dinner At Eight! So I had to schedule my own rehearsals on top of that!
Had you been to the Wexford Festival Opera before?
Alessandro: No, it was my first time. It was amazing though and I discovered so much about the professional world of opera. I was also asked to take part as a supernumerary in Dinner at Eight by my boss Nicky. He was told they were looking for someone, and as I had never had the opportunity to do something like this, I thought it would be a wonderful chance to step outside my comfort zone. It has been a wonderful experience!
Sheldon: Yes, I was here in 2015. I was Deuxième Archer (Le Pré aux clercs, Hérold, 2015); Peter (Hansel & Gretel ShortWork, Humperdinck, 2015). I was also the chorus supervisor.
What did you enjoy most about working here?
Sheldon: I enjoyed being behind the scenes. Being able to rub shoulders with the directors, conductors, and the orchestra. It’s nice to see the inner-workings of an opera house because as a singer you don’t normally get to see what happens off -stage, it’s fascinating!
What do you think is special about Wexford Festival Opera?
Sheldon: It’s unique in the sense that every year audiences from all over Ireland and the world get to come and see rarely performed operas performed by world class musicians in a lovely town like Wexford.
How would you describe the atmosphere now around the festival?
Sheldon: The energy is great, as we are now finishing the final performances of all the operas, but also a tinge of melancholy as we now have to say goodbye to so many new friends and this wonderful place.
Alessandro: We are all very happy here because of all that we have accomplished but also ready for one big nap!
As we come to the end of yet another festival, we like to reflect on everyone’s hard work throughout their time here and say a big thanks to everyone who made the festival run as smoothly as ever. With 62 events over 17 days, tomorrow will be the end of an era, but you can catch Sheldon as Gustave in Dinner At Eight tomorrow night for the final performance.
Book Tickets online here or call box office on 1850 4 OPERA