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Thursday 22 August 2019

Wexford chorus adds local edge to 60th Opera Festival

AS ARTISTS from around the globe assembled in Wexford for the first day of rehearsals for the 60th Wexford Opera Festival yesterday (Tuesday), Artistic Director David Agler announced the creation of a newly formed Wexford Festival Chorus.

The new chorus comprises some of the most promising young singers from Ireland and across Europe and it's the first that the Opera House can call 'its own' in a long time. Gavin Carr, long associated with the Opera Festival, is the Chorus Master.

When the festival began in 1951 it took advantage of the local musical talent to fulfil the role of the chorus. However, as the festival grew and developed, so did the artistic demands of the chorus and it soon became evident that a full-time commitment would be necessary, an impossibility for the many local volunteers.

In 1995, the then Artistic Director, Luigi Ferrari, introduced the Prague Choir to fulfil this role. Although a professional choir, the Prague Choir was cast and managed independently of the festival.

While this resolved an immediate need, it was never envisaged as a long-term solution for the festival.

'I am particularly satisfied that the festival will now have a chorus to call its own. Singers, directors and conductors come and go. The musical backbone of any fine opera house is its chorus and orchestra,' said Mr Agler (pictured).

'We have now achieved this goal in Wexford and I would like to think that the establishment of the Wexford Festival Chorus and Orchestra will be my lasting contribution to the festival,' he said.

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