Meet the conductor of Herculanum Jean-Luc Tingaud

Wexford Festival Opera's Tracy Ryan chats with French conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud (conductor of this year's Herculanum) about Félicien David, Grand Opéra and arriving back to Wexford.

Previous Wexford Festival Opera engagements for Jean-Luc include Conductor (Le pré aux clercs, Hérold, 2015); Conductor (Le Roi malgré lui, Chabrier, 2012); Conductor (Pénélope, Fauré, 2005); Conductor (Manon Lescaut, Auber, 2002); Conductor (Sapho, Massenet, 2001).

Tell me how you have spent the past year since conducting Le pré aux clercs at last years Wexford Festival Opera?

Conducting operas and symphonies, but mostly preparing my new recording for Naxos, of music by a rare french composer Vincent d'Indy.

Herculanum was first performed in Paris at the Théâtre Impérial de l’Opéra in 1859. Do you remember the first time you actually heard Herculanum by Félicien David?

Last year in Wexford when David Agler told me about it.

Herculanum is Félicien David's only grand opéra. Can you explain briefly the history of grand opéra in France and its significance today if any?

It was the core musical form for France in the XIX century, inspiring and influencing composers of all countries in Europe; a truly cosmopolitan project that included not only French composers but Rossini, Verdi, Wagner...

The story of Félicien David is remarkable; he was left an impoverished orphan at the age of six but his good voice enabled him to gain a scholarship and he went on to study at the Paris Conservatoire. Could you tell us about some of Félicien David's notable contemporaries of the time?

Auber, which we played in Wexford (Manon Lescaut) Berlioz, and his friend and mentor Bizet, who inspired by Herculanum.

Could you give us an example of your daily routine now that you have arrived in Wexford?

Mornings are for study and sport - afternoons for rehearsals and free time always spent walking in the beautiful Wexford county. It is the 15th anniversary of my debut here and my 6th production at Wexford Festival Opera.

Herculanum runs at the National Opera House 26, 29 October and 1, 4 November. Book tickets here by emailing or calling 1850 4 OPERA/+353 53 912 2144.