As a fireworks display lights up Wexford harbour, the first opera production lights up the stage of the National Opera House.
Tuesday evening, 24th October, the 72nd Wexford Festival Opera lit up both the sky above Wexford Harbour and the stage of the National Opera House, marking the start of 13 days and nights of extraordinary performances.
Opening the Festival on Wexford Quay front, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said, "I am delighted to be here this evening to officially open the 72nd Wexford Festival Opera. This extraordinary festival is renowned, taking its place among the great opera festivals of the world.
“It is wonderful to see so many people travelling to Wexford from Ireland and abroad to be part of this musical celebration each year."
Following the speeches, a stunning firework display, supported by Wexford County Council, lit up the sky over Wexford Harbour.
Then at 8 pm the cast of the opening night opera, Donizetti's Zoraida di Granata took to the stage at the National Opera House.
Earlier this evening, audiences enjoyed the first performance of an immersive community opera - a first for WFO - which saw members of the Wexford local community perform alongside a professional cast in a new version of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, set in Wexford.
Wexford Festival Opera 2023 runs until 5th November. Booking wexfordopera.com
WFO 2023 features a packed programme comprising of three mainstage opera rarities, two pocket operas, the Wexford Factory opera, 11 lunchtime recitals, an immersive community opera, a choral recital with New Dublin Voices, the annual gala concert of festival favourites, film screenings, an impossible interview, the Dr Tom Walsh lecture given by Lara Marlowe and a myriad of joyous free pop-up events all around the town.
The three mainstage operas are:
- A modern premiere of Zoraida di Granata by G. Donizetti (1822) in co-production with the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo
- French rarity L’Aube rouge by Camille Erlanger (1911)
- La ciociara (2015), in a new orchestration for WFO by original composer Marco Tutino
- The return of the Wexford Factory - including performances of L’italiana in Algeri
- Pocket Operas/ Opera Beag: La fille du régiment by Gaetano Donizetti (1840) and Suor Angelica by Giacomo Puccini (1918).