The 63rd Wexford Festival Opera kicks off tomorrow ( Wednesday, 22 October) with the official opening set to take place once again on quays in Wexford town. Entertainment will commence from 6:30pm and will include the giant annual fireworks display.
This year Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will officially open the Festival at the quayside celebrations and then go on to attend the opening opera at Wexford Opera House, which will be Salomé by Antoine Mariotte (1875-1944), a rarely-performed operatic version of Oscar Wilde’s play.
The opening night is always a popular event so be sure to come along and find your viewing spot to enjoy all of the nights entertainment on Wexford’s Quayside. Traffic restrictions will be in place from 5pm to 9pm.
The 2014 Wexford Festival Opera includes 3 main stage operas – Salomé by Antoine Mariotte (1875-1944), a rarely-performed operatic version of Oscar Wilde’s perceptive play which will be the Festival’s opening night performance, the delightfully good-humoured comic opera Don Bucefalo by Antonio Cagnoni (1828-1896) distinguished by its melodic inventiveness, and the European premiere of the Pulitzer prize winning opera, Silent Night by Kevin Puts (b. 1972). Commissioned by Minnesota Opera, composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell will attend the premiere on 24 October. Together they will deliver the annual Dr Tom Walsh Lecture on 23 October, the morning after its European Premiere.
The ShortWorks return to Whites of Wexford Hotel this year with three intimate productions including a double-bill of The Wandering Scholar by Gustav Holst and Trial by Jury by Gilbert and Sullivan, Il Tabarro by Giacomo Puccini and La Cenerentola (Cinderella) by Gioacchino Rossini. Approximately an hour long, these allow audiences to enjoy a rare work or a condensed version of a more familiar opera.
The Gala Concert each year features a number of artists taking part in the Festival performing some of their favourite pieces. This year the MC for the evening will be Australian soprano Helena Dix, who sang the title role in last year’s award-winning production of Cristina, regina de Svezia.
The popular Lunchtime Recitals will be presented in St Iberius Church in the centre of Wexford. Running for approximately fifty minutes, these recitals afford a unique opportunity to hear the principal artists of the Festival display their versatility in an intimate setting. The artists and their performance dates will be announced prior to the Festival. Keep updated at http://www.wexfordopera.com
Una Hunt returns to Wexford on the 1st of November with Irish Fantasy: a family affair, a new programme in the ‘Irish Heritage at Wexford’ series. Celebration of the music of Ireland through song and violin and piano music will be performed by sisters Una Hunt and Fionnuala Hunt on piano and violin respectively with Una’s daughter Rachel Kelly. Rachel is a member of the young artist programme at the Royal Opera House and recently stepped into the role of Mercédès in Carmen. The programme includes music by Harty, Stanford, Esposito, Hughes, Moore, Wallace, Balfe and T.C. Kelly – Rachel’s grandfather and a native of Wexford.
A recent addition to this year’s Festival programme on Bank Holiday Monday, Dan Newell, accompanied by members of the Orchestra of Wexford Festival Opera, will perform Composers on Film – The Sequel – music from popular film scores. Dan Newell is a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and London Brass and has played on the soundtracks of many films including Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and Shrek, as well as performing with artists including Sir Paul McCartney, Florence and the Machine, Muse, Elbow, and Peter Gabriel. This once off concert will include music from films including JFK and Skyfall. Taking place on the bank-holiday Monday, 27 October at 11am in the O’Reilly Theatre it is suitable for all ages, tickets €15 (adults) €5 (children).
The 62nd Wexford Fringe Festival also gets underway offering a diverse and eclectic mix of events which include theatre, visual arts, photography, music, literature and children’s entertainment – over 300 different events will be on offer!
Many events are free and there is something for everyone in the family. It brings together artists of all disciplines and will run from Friday 17th October through to Sunday 2nd November, be sure to get out and catch a gig.
And last but by no means least the wonderful Wexford Speigeltent Festival runs for 12 days and nights and the eclectic programme of events features contemporary music, comedy, theatre, film, classical music and lots more. With lots of big name acts be sure to book your night out in Wexford.
For details on all three festivals see http://www.visitwexford.ie