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Sunday 18 August 2019

Wexford Opera in co-production with famous Paris opera company

bY David Tucker

Le Pré aux clercs (The Clerks' Meadow) by Ferdinand Hérold, a co-production between Wexford Festival Opera and the famed Opéra-Comique de Paris, opened last night (March 23) in Paris to a capacity crowd of more than 1,200. Based on a novel by Prosper Mérimée, Hérold's opéra comique was a runaway success in the wake of its triumphant premiere in 1832.

This first co-production between Opéra-Comique, Paris, in partnership with La Fondazione Palazzetto Bru Zane - Centre de musique romantique française, and in association with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, will transfer to Wexford in October for four further performances on October 23, 26, 29 October and November 1. Wexford audiences will be able to book tickets for this production and all other events for the 64th Wexford Festival Opera when general booking opens this coming Saturday (March 28) at 9.30 a.m.

Le Pré aux clercs is Hérold's last and finest opéra comique and received more than 1,500 performances in Paris since its premiere in 1832. Hérold was too ill from tuberculosis to appear on the stage to enjoy his triumph and the audience's wildly enthusiastic applause. He died five weeks later, aged 42.

When the production transfers to Wexford in October, Canadian soprano Marie-Éve Munger, who sang in last year's very popular Don Bucefalo will return to Wexford to sing the role of Isabelle.

In addition to this co-production, there are two other main stage operas at Wexford Festival Opera: Koanga by Frederick Delius and Guglielmo Ratcliff by Pietro Mascagni, as well as three daytime ShortWorks operas: The Portrait of Manon by Jules Massenet, Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck and Tosca by Giacomo Puccini. There are also concerts, lunchtime recitals, lectures and talks: 52 events over the 12-day Festival.

There is a range of ticket prices for the evening operas beginning at just €25, while daytime events range from just €10 to €25.

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