Our orchestra and chorus
We’re proud to attract some of the world’s best talent to our Orchestra and Chorus. We welcome many of them back year after year, and they have repaid us with their outstanding ability to raise our performances to inspiring new levels.
The orchestra plays a pivotal role in bringing our opera performances to life.
Each year a specially assembled festival orchestra join together comprising some of the best soloists, recitalists, chamber musicians and principals from musical ensembles and distinguished orchestras in Ireland and abroad.
Many musicians have been part of the festival for many years and consider this to be their second artistic home.
WFO Principal Guest Conductor Francesco Cilluffo
Wexford Festival Opera’s Principal Guest Conductor is currently Italian Francesco Cilluffo. Cilluffo was appointed in 2020. A graduate of Turin University, Francesco lived and studied in London at GSMD (composition and conducting fellowship, Master in Composition - distinction) and at King’s College (PhD in Composition).
His studies led him to realise that composing and conducting is very much like two sides of the same coin. They are two different yet complementary sides of creativity. His experiences as a conductor span the core Italian operas and choral masterwork to some more unusual works and new commissions, and he feels at home writing as much as conducting opera and vocal music. Francesco is based in Milan but conducted operas last season at The Grange and Opera Holland Park.
WFO 2024 Main Stage Opera Guest Conductors
Le maschere (1901) by Pietro Mascagni , Francesco Gilluffo
The Critic (1916) by Charles Villiers Stanford, Ciarán McAuey
Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali (1827) by Gaetano Donizetti, Danila Grassi
For the first time ever, the Festival welcomes a sponsor of the WFO Orchestra, Arachas Insurance Brokers
Fionnuala Hunt, Concertmaster
Lynda O'Connor, Guest Leader
Lara Rosemary O'Sullivan, Co-Principal
Paul O’Hanlon, Principal
Aoife Dowdall, Co-principal
Adele Johnson, Principal
Cheryl Law, Co-Principal
Giammaria Tesai Palacio
Adrian Mantu, Principal
Aoife Burke, Co-Principal
Dominic Dudley, Principal
Maeve Sheil, Co-Principal
Woodwind and Brass
Deirdre Brady, Principal
Aoife McCambridge, Principal
Jessie Grimes, Principal
Bartosz Kwasecki, Principal
Hannah Millar, Principal
William Palmer, Principal
Ross Lyness, Principal
Les Neish, Principal
Dianne Marshall, Principal
Timpani and Percussion
Noel Eccles, Principal
Patrick Nolan, Principal
Dermot Dunne, Principal
Colin McLean, Principal
Wexford Festival Opera is internationally recognised as the premier festival of rare operas. For singers, the WFO Chorus offers an unrivalled opportunity to explore more diverse repertoire, the prospect of reviving an opera which has not been performed in modern times, professional experience and international exposure.
The WFO Chorus was formally set up back in 1994, with previous Chorus Masters including Anthony Hose, Myer Freedman, Kenneth Montgomery and Gregory Rose.
The current Festival Chorus Master is Andrew Synott.