Thursday 14 December 2017

Minister Hanafin will launch festival

THE MINISTER for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin will officially open Wexford Festival Opera's 59th season on Saturday, October 16, with thousands of people expected to gather on Wexford quayfront for a fireworks display and a carnival of entertainment.

The quays will be closed to traffic at 5 p.m. and Minister Hanafin will declare the international opera event open at 7 p.m. before the skies light up with the traditional pyrotechnic display.

Spectators will be treated to performances by Nicky Bailey's percussion ensemble Extreme Rhythm and excerpts from The Wizard of Oz by Festival Productions and The Lords of Love along with Maurice McCarthy and his Beatlemania show.

After the launch, the Minister will attend a ceremony in Wexford Opera House to recognise the achievement of the Wexford Festival Foundation in raising over €5.3m in private donations towards the redevelopment costs of the new building, before going to see the opening opera Virginia at 8 p.m., which will be broadcast live on RTÉ Lyric FM.

The Opera Festival, which is opening on a Saturday for the first time, will span three weekends, finishing up on Saturday, October 30. The popular Short Works programme featuring condensed versions of operas performed by world-class singers, has been revived this year.

Tickets are still available for many events. Visit or telephone the box office on 053 91 22144 for more information.

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