Dubliners and two Italians

By Maria Pepper

ABOVE AND RIGHT: The promotional imagery for Dubliners, La Scala di Seta and Rigoletto. ABOVE LEFT: Andrew Gavin. LEFT: Emma Nash, FAR LEFT: Peter O'Donohue.
ABOVE AND RIGHT: The promotional imagery for Dubliners, La Scala di Seta and Rigoletto. ABOVE LEFT: Andrew Gavin. LEFT: Emma Nash, FAR LEFT: Peter O'Donohue.
Peter O'Donohue
Rigoletto.
Corbridge former town by Stephen Nolan.
Emma Nash.
Andrew Gavin
ABOVE AND RIGHT: The promotional imagery for Dubliners, La Scala di Seta and Rigoletto. ABOVE LEFT: Andrew Gavin. LEFT: Emma Nash, FAR LEFT: Peter O'Donohue.

Wexford Festival Opera has announced the names of the creative teams and cast members who are performing in the popular daytime ShortWorks productions this year.

The Shortworks are usually one hour in length and are presented in Clayton Whites Hotel, offering audiences a chance to enjoy a one-act opera or a consensed version of a more familiar opera. They are sung by soloists who are also appearing in the main stage operas.

The 2017 daytime productions include the world premiere of Dubliners, incorporating four performances of two one-act operas by Irish composer Andrew Synnott with an adaptation and text by Arthur Riordan based on Counterparts and The Boarding House from James Joyce's Dubliners.

The opera is written for a cast of six singers, accompanied by piano and string quartet and will feature a predominantly Irish cast including soprano Emma Nash, tenor Andrew Gavin and baritone David Howes. The composer Andrew Synnott will also serve as music director while the celebrated theatre director Annabelle Comyn will direct. Dubliners is a co-production with Opera Theatre Company.

La Scala di seta, one of Gioachino Rossini's lesser known works is a fast moving comedy. Its title translates as 'The Silken Ladder', in this case a stairway to the heaven of various nocturnal rendezvous. The cast includes the Bulgarian soprano Galina Bakalova and Korean tenor Ji Hyun Kim as the resourceful lovers Giulia and Dorvil. The American tenor Chase Hopkins sings Dormont, Giulia's guardian and the somewhat confused servant is sung by Italian bass Filippo Fontana who performed in Wexford in 2014, singing the title role in Don Bucefalo. The Canadian repetiteur Tina Chang, will act as music director, with stage direction by Nathan Troupe from USA.

Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi is a tragic story of the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto, and Rigoletto's beautiful daughter Gilda, and contains some of opera's most beloved arias including 'la donne é mobile'.

Wexford veteran Roberto Recchia will direct this condensed version of the popular opera, with Wexford newcomer, Giorgio D'alonzo, as music director. Leading the cast is the Anglo-French baritone Charles Rice in the title role, with Italian soprano Giuliana Gianfaldoni as his love-stricken daughter Gilda, and British tenor Aidan Coburn as the Duke.

Audiences can enjoy a special daytime package for €65 which includes a lunchtime recital or Thomas Moore Songbook concert, lunch in Clayton Whites Hotel and a ShortWorks opera. The starting times allow audiences to travel easily to and from Wexford by car, bus or rail within a day. Seating is allocated for all the performances.

For details and tickets of all events, including the three evening operas, Medea by Cherubini, Margherita by Foroni and Risurrezione by Alfano, as well as many recitals, talks and concerts, visit www.wexfordopera.com Tickets are selling quickly. Book online 24/7 or call the box-office on +353 (0)53 912 2144 Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The 66th Wexford Festival Opera takes place from October 19 to November 5.

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