Saturday 7 December 2019

Rosetta's first festival inspired by Shakespeare

Rosetta Cucchi ,the new Wexford Festival Opera Artistic Director, whose first festival programme is themed, taking its inspiration from the work of William Shakespeare
Rosetta Cucchi ,the new Wexford Festival Opera Artistic Director, whose first festival programme is themed, taking its inspiration from the work of William Shakespeare

Pádraig Byrne

While this year's festival may have just drawn to a conclusion amid rave reviews, there is little time to breathe for those behind Wexford Festival Opera.

Far from basking in the glowing reviews of the critics, thoughts have already turned to next year's festival as the programme for the 69th Wexford Festival Opera, which will take place October 20 to November 1, 2020, was officially revealed.

Next year will mark a landmark year with the departure of David Agler making it an inaugural festival for Rosetta Cucchi in the role of Artistic Director - only the seventh in the festival's history.

One of the big changes that Rosetta has revealed is that, for the first time, the 2020 festival will be themed. Inspired by William Shakespeare, each of the three main evening productions in the National Opera House will be based directly or indirectly on the life and work of the immortal bard. These are 'Ein Wintermärchen' by Karl Goldmark, 'Le Songe d'une nuit d'été' by Ambroise Thomas and 'Edmea' by Alfredo Catalani.

The three day-time operas, retitled, 'Pocket Operas' or 'Opera Beag' continues this Shakespearian thread, with new productions on the themes of love, fun and the darker side, taking place in both the O'Reilly and Jerome Hynes theatre at the Opera House and Wexford Arts Centre. These are 'Shakespeare in Love', a collage of love scenes, arias and duets, 'The Dark of Shakespeare', a collage of the dark, obscure and mysterious and 'Shakespeare for Fun', a reduced production of 'Falstaff' by Verdi.

Continuing the goal of providing key professional development opportunities, 2020 sees the establishment of the Wexford Factory - a new intensive academy which will offer professional and financial support to 15 young Irish or Irish-based singers in the early stages of their careers. They will learn through a series of masterclasses held by internationally renowned artists and professionals and among the guest tutors will be world famous tenor Juan Diego-Flórez. In addition, the graduating students will perform in the production of 'Falstaff'.

In total, the 2020 festival will see an expansion of events with more than 70 separate performances over 13 days. Other highlights include a special evening concert with the Wexford Festival Opera Orchestra starring world renowned American soprano Lisette Oropesa; Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle in Rowe Street Church; four late night Cabaret des Artistes performances and WFO 2.0 - a series of free pop up, multi-disciplinary performances featuring music, drama, singing and dance which will be performed at various locations around Wexford town.

'Wexford is a magical place where in the last several years I have enhanced my experience as an artist and as an artistic leader, and where I have recognised my best talents,' Artistic Director Rosetta Cucchi said at the launch. 'While being faithful to its tradition, it has also made me aware of Wexford's great potential for the development of new and stimulating ideas, some of which will be showcased in my inaugural season.'

Priority booking for the 69th Wexford Festival Opera opens on Saturday, March 21, 2020 for Bravura Friends of Wexford Festival Opera. Booking for Aria, Cabaletta, Ensemble +, and Ensemble Friends opens on Saturday, 28 March, 2020. Public booking opens on Saturday, April 4, 2020.

For more details see

Enniscorthy Guardian