Now it's official
Wexford Opera House was officially renamed the National Opera House last Thursday evening nine months after the initial announcement.
Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys who had made the initial announcement last October was back in Wexford to officiate at the naming ceremony alongside Minister Brendan Howlin.
Unveiling the new sign at the entrance to the National Opera House, Minister Humphreys said: 'I am delighted to be here for the official naming ceremony of the National Opera House in Wexford. Wexford has become synonymous with world class opera in recent years, thanks to the high quality productions staged here. This is an internationally recognised artistic institution which makes a hugely positive contribution to the local economy. I am committed to ensuring a regional balance in arts provision across this country, so that communities like Wexford can have access to a wide range of top class cultural experiences. Wexford is the home of premier opera in Ireland. Recognition as Ireland's National Opera House will help to secure this position and should also help to attract some of the world's best opera to Ireland's South East.'
From its opening in 2008, the state-of-the-art venue is Ireland's only acoustically purpose-built Opera House and is a major addition to the nation's cultural infrastructure, winning numerous national and international architectural awards as a result. It is a year-round cultural receiving house for opera and also for multi-disciplinary performance art-forms. To date, over 2,000 events of all genres have been staged in the National Opera House to almost 350,000 people, underlining the unique venue's significant and increasing major contribution to the local, regional and national economy. It is also the home of Wexford Festival Opera, one of the world's leading opera Festivals, which annually attracts audiences from home and abroad who travel to Wexford to experience this unique cultural celebration.
Chief Executive of Wexford Festival Trust, David McLoughlin said 'This further official state recognition of the National Opera House by the Minister for the Arts is a significant occasion in the development of this unique national cultural asset, enabling us to further build on the State's prior investment in its creation and to further enhance its cultural, economic and societal contributions nationally and locally.
'Ireland is no longer the only country in Europe to not possess a National Opera House. The official national status and state endorsement is recognition of this major addition to our cultural infrastructure.'