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O'Reilly Theatre, National Opera House
72nd Season


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2h 10min approx. with interval

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A modern premiere, Zoraida di Granata follows the experience of a woman drawn into war against her will, in a battle to save her love.


Libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli
New critical edition of the 1822 version edited by Edoardo Cavalli © Fondazione Teatro Donizetti, Bergamo

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

First performance: Teatro Argentina, Rome, Italy, 1822

A co-production with Donizetti Opera Festival, Bergamo


Any A-Z of Donizetti’s 70 or so operas must eventually come to Zoraida di Granata, but actually, it belongs much higher up the list: a very early work, it was his first big success. The composer was only 24 when Zoraida di Granata was premiered at Rome’s Teatro Argentina in January 1822, and the opera was nearly born under an unlucky star, since the tenor originally cast as Abenamet fell fatally ill during rehearsals. There being no understudy, Donizetti hastily rewrote and shortened the part for a contralto Adelaide Mazzanti. When Donizetti revised the opera for the same theatre two years later, with a much starrier Abenamet, Rosamunda Pisaroni, he upgraded the part accordingly.

Only a handful of Donizetti’s operas hold a place in the mainstream repertoire, but our appreciation of them has been radically changed by a better acquaintance with some of the lesser-known titles. Zoraida di Granata is probably the earliest of his works that opera-lovers at least have a chance of knowing since about 25 years ago Opera Rara released a ground-breaking recording of the piece. The music shows the composer, if still under the influence of his teacher Simone Mayr, absorbing the brilliance of Rossini. It is also a work of great significance since the success of Zoraida di Granata led Donizetti to win a contract with the impresario Domenico Barbaja, who opened his path to Naples and an eight-year apprenticeship there that left him ready to burst through with Anna Bolena at La Scala in 1830.

With the exception of the Donizetti Opera Festival (Bergamo, Italy), Wexford Festival Opera has produced more works by Gaetano Donizetti than any other opera festival in the world. In particular, WFO is credited for the rediscovery of L’elisir d’amore, in 1952, which has subsequently found its way into the operatic canon.

If you require any assistance with your ticket purchase or if you have any special requirements, such as a wheelchair accessible seat, please contact our Box Office on + 353 53 912 2144, or see Accessibility information on our website.


Claudia Boyle - WFO2023 cast
Claudia Boyle
Matteo Mezzaro cast
Matteo Mezzaro
Rachel Croash cast
Rachel Croash
Matteo Guerzè cast
Ali Zegri
Matteo Guerzè

Creative Team

Diego Ceretta cast
Diego Ceretta
Bruno Ravella cast
Stage Director
Bruno Ravella
Noemi Piccorossi cast
Assistant Director
Noemi Piccorossi
Gary Mc Cann cast
Set and Costume Designer
Gary McCann
Gloria Bolchini cast
Assistant Designer
Gloria Bolchini

The Plot

The action takes place during a Spanish attack on the Moorish capital of Grenada, where king Almuzir is in love with Zoraida, the daughter of the king he has deposed and whose throne he has usurped. But she is already betrothed to his general Abenamet. Machinations ensue, and though Almuzir tries to dispose of Abenamet, the general outwits the ruler by disguising himself as an unknown knight.

Abenamet finally wins the day by forcing the king into a remorseful confession, even defending the usurper against the people’s wrath. A happy end sees Zoraida and Abenamet reunited.

Watch & Listen

Discover the Repertoire

The Discover the Repertoire series is the popular introduction to the 2023 Wexford Festival Opera programme.

The commentary, written and presented by Ian Fox, includes excerpts from the main stage operas and provides background information on the composers and operas.

Listen and enhance your enjoyment of this year’s Festival.

Dates and times

Tuesday 24 Oct8pm 8pm Book
Friday 27 Oct8pm 8pm Book
Tuesday 31 Oct8pm 8pm Book
Friday 3 Nov8pm 8pm Book

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