Hitting a high note at the opera as festival curtain lifts
The Wexford Festival Opera is hitting the high notes this year.
Seen as one of the most important festivals of its kind in Europe, ticket sales have already surpassed those for last year, despite the economic downturn.
More than 20,000 will attend the event which got under way on Saturday night -- with 40pc of those coming from outside the Republic.
Three more nights have been added to this year's festival. According to its spokeswoman, Elizabeth Rose Browne, there was another big surge in ticket sales over the last few days.
"I think during these hard times, people do look for quality and something different, and this is a very special festival. Apart from the fantastic opera, there are lots of fringe events and a fantastic atmosphere in the town," she said.
For the first time in its 59-year history, the festival hosted the European premiere of a new opera last night, 'The Golden Ticket'. It is based on Roald Dahl's 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and was attended by Dahl's widow, Liccy.
Tonight's opera is the Czech folk opera 'Hubika' by Bedich Smetana, featuring this year's winner of the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition, South-African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza, in the lead role.
The event runs until October 30.