Monday 23 October 2017

Opera rehearsals in full swing

By Esther Hayden

Christina Gill at the first chorus rehearsals for 'Koanga'.
Christina Gill at the first chorus rehearsals for 'Koanga'.
Eleanor Garside during a break in chorus rehearsals at the Opera House.
Opera singers rehearsing for the upcoming Wexford Opera Festival.
Opera singers rehearsing for the upcoming Wexford Opera Festival.
Cast members enjoy the view over Wexford town while rehearsing at the National Opera House.
Rehearsals in full swing at the National Opera House.

Cast and crew representing thirteen different countries from around the world are arriving in the southeast as rehearsals for the 64th Wexford Festival Opera officially begin.

Some artists are making a very welcome return to Wexford and others are experiencing this internationally renowned festival for the first time. The full company comprises more than 200 artists and hail from Ireland, UK, France, Italy, Malta, Greece, Spain, Poland, South Africa, Chile, Australia, Canada and the USA.

Wexford Festival Opera has established itself as one of the world's leading opera festivals providing a platform for the best emerging talent on the national and international stage. Each year the Festival presents three evening productions of unjustly neglected or rarely produced operas alongside a programme of daytime ShortWorks productions of more popular repertoire.

Although still five weeks away from opening night, which takes place on Wednesday, October 21, booking for the Festival is extremely strong, with many events sold out. People wishing to book the last remaining tickets are advised to do so as soon as possible. Bookings can be made online at, or by ringing or calling into the box office at the National Opera House Monday-Saturday between 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. on +353 (0)53 912 2144.

This year's Festival runs until November 1 and features three evening operas: Koanga by Frederick Delius; Guglielmo Ratcliff by Pietro Mascagni; and Le Pré aux clercs by Ferdinand Hérold. In addition, this year's programme includes three daytime ShortWorks operas, concerts, lunchtime recitals, lectures and talks, a massive 54 events over the 12-day festival.

Two additional events were added to the festival programme recently. On Friday, October 30 at 11 a.m., Jack Sullivan, who is Professor of English and Director of American Studies at Rider University and a passionate advocate of the works of Frederick Delius, will deliver a talk on Alfred Hitchcock's use of opera music in his films. In his highly acclaimed book, Hitchcock's Music, hailed as a milestone in Hitchcock criticism, Jack Sullivan explores the essential role and power of music in Hitchcock's films. His books include: Elegant Nightmares: the English Ghost Story from LeFanu to Blackwood; New World Symphonies: How American Culture Changed European Music; and Hitchcock's Music. He has written for Opera, The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Carnegie Hall's Stagebill.

In the early days of the festival, visual art played a significant role. Returning to its roots this year, the National Opera House will host an art exhibition of works by the celebrated Belfast-based artist, Neil Shawcross.

The exhibition of works will be curated by James O'Connor of Greenacres Bistro and Art Gallery and will be on display throughout the National Opera House for the duration of the Festival and will be free to the public. All are welcome to attend.

Wexford People

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