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Prepare for your visit

Opening night5

Bringing together world-class singers, rare opera and the Wexford experience, our extraordinary autumn festival is not to be missed.

Wexford Festival Opera has its home at the National Opera House of Ireland. Like the festival, the theatre has a distinctive character. Its frontage is deliberately unprepossessing, blending in with the High Street of terraced houses, but on entering it opens into an hospitable foyer, rising to four storeys with panoramic views over the river Slaney and Wexford harbour. The 800-seat theatre is both at once imposing and intimate, with striking purple leather seats and warm walnut wood balconies and floors.

On opening night of the festival, thousands of people gather on Wexford's Quay front to watch the magnificent Fireworks display ahead of the curtain going up on the first opera of the season.

Every evening during the Festival, the Chairperson, Executive Director and Artistic Director greet the audience at the entrance of the National Opera House as they arrive for the opera and then meet them again after the performance to wish them good night and safe home as they leave.

Like the firework display, which opens the festival, opera audiences in Wexford like to dress to celebrate the occasion of going to the opera for evening performances. Traditionally, Festival audiences have worn formal attire, but times are changing and while many like to use the occasion as an opportunity to dress up, this is certainly not a requirement.

In recent years, Wexford Festival Opera has formed a partnership with Environmental Protection Agency to champion sustainable fashion choices amongst festival goers. Keep an eye on our social media channels for more details during the festival.

There is a cloakroom located in the Jerome Hynes Theatre Foyer of the National Opera House situated on Level -1. Open prior to performances, there is no charge for the use of this facility. Our staff and Festival Volunteers will be on hand to assist you in any way they can.

All opera performances in the O’Reilly Theatre are surtitled in English. This means, English translations are projected above the stage as surtitles to allow patrons follow operas which are not sung in English.

Relax at one of the National Opera House bars which open, serving a range of wines, spirits, champagnes and minerals and refreshments. A bar services normally operates 45 minutes before a performance in the National Opera House and again at the interval. A pre-order drinks services is available for the interval for your convenience, to save you and your party time to enjoy your refreshments and to fully experience the festival spirit.

To pre-order drinks for you or your party, please complete a Pre-Order Drinks Form which is available on Level -1 (adjacent to the Cloakroom) on your arrival for an evening performance at the National Opera House.

Each opera performance has a 20-minute interval during which patrons can enjoy drinks and snacks from the foyer bar – drinks can also be pre-ordered for the interval to avoid the rush.

Patrons arriving late will not be permitted to take their seats until a suitable break in the performance – this may not be possible until the interval.

The first voices heard singing in the National Opera House before each evening's performance are those of the audience, singing a rousing rendition of the Irish National anthem.

You won’t just hear Irish voices in the opera house foyer when you visit. Over a third of Festival audiences are from outside Ireland.

On the last night of the Festival, the audience and cast sing a rousing Auld Lang Syne together, marking the closure of the current season and the hope to meet again next year.