The 69th Wexford Festival Opera won't open for another 10 months but the new Artistic Director Rosetta Cucchi has hit ground running with final casting for the 2020 event currently taking place and auditions for the Wexford Factory, an academy of young Irish singers, due to be held later this month.
The academy is open to Irish singers or singers resident in Ireland and offers masterclasses with internationally renowned singers and artists such as Juan Diego Florez.
There has been strong interest in the Wexford Factory and competition for places is expected to be keen.
After a financially challenging year in 2018, resulting from high costs of an ambitious artistic programme and lower than anticipated box office income, 2019 was a far more successful year, with a budget-beating box office performance and all costs coming in below budget, according to the Chief Executive David McLoughlin.
As a result, preliminary full-year financial results indicate that the company returned to delivering a surplus in 2019.
'We are very grateful to all our supporters and stakeholders, in particular our audiences, for their strong and continued support of Wexford Festival Opera in 2019, which enabled us to present an artistically and financially successful Festival', he said.
'We are excited by the new artistic and financial opportunities arising from our new Artistic Director's ambitious programme for 2020', he added.
There is a new, expanded artistic programme for 2020, including daytime pop-up events and late night cabarets in addition to the three main evening operas and the other popular daytime performances.
The 2020 Festival will run from Tuesday, October 20 to Sunday, November 1 with 70 events over 13 consecutive days including three main evening operas, an orchestra gala concert with world-renowned US soprano Lisette Oropesa, a full daytime programme and pop-up operas throughout Wexford town.
Priority booking for the 69th Festival will open on Saturday, 21 March for Bravura, Aria, Cabaletta, Ensemble+ and for Ensemble Friends on Saturday, March 28 while public booking will open on Saturday, April 4.