Friday 9 December 2016

Festival returns to its founding spirit

Fergus Black

Published 19/01/2011 | 05:00

Maria Carley from Wexford at the launch of the 60th Wexford Festival Opera yesterday
Maria Carley from Wexford at the launch of the 60th Wexford Festival Opera yesterday

DETAILS of one of the top festivals in the world were announced online yesterday as the Wexford Festival Opera prepares for its 60th season.

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This year's event will run for 16 days, opening on Friday, October 21, and finishing on November 5, featuring three mainstage operas and a gala concert.

Festival artistic director David Agler said the continued economic climate had to be considered when deciding upon the programme. However, he was still heartened by the spirit of the festival -- formed at a time when Ireland was also at a financial disadvantage. "It didn't stop the founders then and it won't stop us now," he said.

This year's three mainstage productions are rarely produced operas. 'La cour de Celimene', which is sung in French, is a two-act opera-comique by Ambroise Thomas, the composer of 'Mignon' and 'Hamlet'.

The festival will also produce 'Maria', by Polish composer Roman Statkowski, a three-act tragic opera written in 1903 and sung in Polish.

Finally, in honour of the 60th season, the organisers will make use of one of their most popular composers, Gaetano Donizetti, and produce his 1839 two-act melodrama 'Gianni di Parigi', sung in Italian.

Because of greater demand for weekend performances, three weekdays during the event will be without performances -- October 23 and 25 and November 1 but there will be shortwork productions, lunchtime recitals and concerts.

Full details of performance dates, cast and daytime programme will be announced ahead of priority booking for Friends of Wexford Festival Opera, which opens on May 3. General bookings open on June 7.

Irish Independent

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