The Wexford Factory

14 singers, in a new Wexford academy, with guest tutors including world-renowned tenor Juan Diego Flórez as part of Wexford Festival Opera's reimagined Festival 2020

Earlier this summer Wexford Festival Opera, had to take the difficult decision to reschedule the previously announced artistic programme to October 2021.  This is due to the ongoing worldwide uncertainty regarding the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions into the autumn, and in the best interests of the health and welfare of the Festival’s audiences, artists, staff, and volunteers. However, the spirit which enabled a small provincial town to create a world-renowned opera festival continues to this day, inspiring Wexford, with the support and guidance of its board of directors, to develop a crisis-inspired formula by presenting a reimagined, online, free-to-view Festival.

Waiting for Shakespeare… The Festival in the air is an online celebration of music which will still encompass many of the artistic ambitions already set out by Artistic Director Rosetta Cucchi earlier in the year, principally to nurture the talents of the best young Irish singers through the mentorship of world-renowned artists who share a love of Wexford. This reimagined Festival aims to bring together audiences and the wider worldwide Wexford community through the power of music.

The Festival will now run for eight consecutive days, from Sunday, 11 October until Sunday, 18 October 2020. During this time, audiences from home and abroad will be invited to experience the magic of Wexford Festival Opera online and free-to-view, from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Further details of where and how to join in will be announced shortly. 

The inaugural Wexford Factory, a professional development academy for young Irish/Irish-based singers has been retained as a key part of this year’s reimagined Festival. Participants will be tutored by some of the most celebrated professionals in opera today, including world-renowned tenor Juan Diego Flórez, Irish soprano Celine Byrne, as well as Ernesto Palacio of the Rossini Opera Festival and Dmitry Vdovin, head of the Bolshoi Young Artists Opera Programme. Veteran Wexford Festival Opera director Roberto Recchia, classical music journalist Michael Dervan, movement specialist Sara Catellani and Rosetta Cucchi will also provide professional instruction. 

 A highlight of this year’s Festival will be the Falstaff Chronicles, a series of scenes from the Verdi opera, Falstaff, which will be performed by the members of the new Wexford Factory from the stage of the National Opera House and streamed in an episodic format over six consecutive days. 

Speaking of her reasons for developing the Wexford Factory, Rosetta Cucchi said, “The best memories of my life are associated with the academies I attended in my youth. That is where I learned the true meaning of professionalism and how I could continue to challenge myself as an artist. This is the reason I decided to establish the Wexford Factory.  It is the duty of every highly regarded international festival such as Wexford to give a new generation of singers the opportunity to grow; giving them wings to fly in their careers.”

The Wexford Factory is in collaboration with TUD (Technological University Dublin), RIAM (Royal Irish Academy of Music) and in keeping with the International profile and reach of Wexford Festival Opera, a partnership with the Bolshoi Young Artists Opera Programme, Moscow, the Rossini Opera Festival Academy, Pesaro, and Opera for Peace has also been established.

In addition to the thirteen Irish/Irish-based singers it had been arranged that Dmitry Cheblykov a young singer from the Bolshoi Young Artists Opera Programme, Moscow, would join this new initiative. Unfortunately Dmitry is now unable to travel to Ireland but we are delighted to welcome in his place Gianni Giuga from the Rossini Opera Festival Young Artist Programme.

The fourteen singers are:

Anna Brady, Ava Dodd, Rory Dunne, Andrew Gavin, Francesca Federico, David Howes, Kathleen Norchi, Conall William O’Neill, Jade Phoenix, Sarah Richmond, Sarah Shine, Vladimir-Mihai Sima Conor Prendiville and Gianni Giuga

Find out a little more about them below.  Click on the link on their name to see a short video introducing them. 

Wexford Festival Opera runs from 11th October to 18th October 2020.