Homegrown star hitting all the right notes at 60th Opera Festival
HE's enthralled audiences across five continents and wowed on the same stage where Pavarotti had his final performance.
Irish bass-baritone John Molloy is more used to the Royal Opera House in London, but the Offaly native has left the West End behind to sing, for the first time, at Wexford Opera House.
The 35-year-old described how being surrounded by international singers and composers in a small fishing town is "a little bit strange".
He was speaking on the opening night of the 60th Wexford Festival Opera, where he was on stage with 'La Cour de Celimene'.
"You can nearly spot the opera-going crowd. They've just been for dinner and they bring this new buzz to the town," he said.
John, who grew up in Birr, now lives in London. He is "young, free, single" and "looking" -- similar to the role he plays in the production with Irish soprano Claudia Boyle.
"It's been brilliant. I've worked with Claudia quite a bit in the past. It's our fourth opera production together so there's a certain security there and familiarity."
Wexford locals have been enjoying dress rehearsals in the past week with "not an empty seat in the house". "It's very difficult to gauge an audience reaction when the comedy is in French and subtitled. The guinea pigs are the locals, we tried it out on them and it's incredibly important for us to do that. The reaction has been fantastic," he said.
International opera companies, agents, fans and critics from across the globe have descended on the south-east since yesterday.
Thousands turned out on Wexford's quay front last night to hear the brass section of the festival orchestra perform. There was also a fireworks display at the official opening performed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
This year features artists from 14 different countries performing in over 52 events. Apart from 'La Cour de Celimene', on the bill is 'Maria' by Polish composer Roman Statkowski and Italian opera 'Gianni di Parigi'.