Public Booking for 66th Wexford Festival Opera 2017 Opens
Public booking for the highly acclaimed Wexford Festival Opera opens on Saturday, 15 April at 9.30 a.m. Now in its 66th year, this internationally renowned festival, once again nominated for 'Best Festival' in the forthcoming International Opera Awards, will run over an extended 18-day period, from Thursday, 19 October to Sunday, 5 November. A variety of performances and talks and even a play are on offer during the festival, which runs over three weekends. A total of 61 events is open to the general public, while additional events are exclusive to 'Friends of Wexford Festival Opera'. Tickets for daytime events are priced from just €10 and main evening operas from just €20.
The 66th Festival will open with Medea by Luigi Cherubini directed by Fiona Shaw, who is known for both her award-winning theatre and film acting work, including playing Medea, in a production that originated at the Abbey Theatre before moving to the West End, and eventually onto Broadway, earning her a Tony Award nomination. In recent times, she has been making a significant impact as an opera director with productions such as Riders to the Sea, Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers and The Marriage of Figaro for English National Opera, The Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne and the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. Fiona Shaw will also deliver the 2017 Dr Tom Walsh Lecture on Saturday, 21 October in Clayton Whites Hotel. Stephen Barlow makes a welcome return to Wexford to conduct, while newcomer Annemarie Woods will design both sets and costumes. Medea is a co-production with Opera Omaha.
This year's other two main evening operas include the highly anticipated Margherita by Jacopo Foroni, which hasn't been seen or heard since it premiered in Milan in 1848, and Risurrezione by Franco Alfano, based on the Tolstoy novel. Margherita will be conducted by Tim Myers, who conducted the much celebrated Samuel Barber opera, Vanessa at last year's Festival. Director Michael Sturm and designer Stefan Rieckhoff will make their Wexford debuts in this co-production with Oldenburghisches Staatstheater. While Wexford veterans, director Rosetta Cucchi, set designer Tiziano Santi, costume designer Claudia Pernighotti, and conductor Francesco Cilluffo form the creative team for Risurrezione. Christopher Akerlind will serve as lighting designer for all three main evening productions.
In addition to the three main evening operas, the Festival is also delighted to present a co-production with Opera Theatre Company: the world-premiere of two one-act operas entitled, Dubliners. Based on Counterparts and The Boarding House from Joyce's Dubliners, the opera is composed by Andrew Synnott, with adaptation and text by Arthur Riordan. The opera is performed by a cast of six, accompanied by piano and string quartet.
Andrew Synnott is a Dublin-based composer, conductor, and pianist. He holds a Doctorate in composition from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and has conducted many times for Opera Theatre Company and for the Royal Irish Academy of Music opera productions, where he is a member of the vocal faculty. A former artistic director and conductor of Crash Ensemble, a group he co-founded in 1997, Andrew has also conducted with the Buxton Opera Festival, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and at various events in Australia, Portugal and France. A noted performer as well, Andrew is a member of the tango quartet Le Grand Tango, who performed at last year's Festival. Arthur Riordan is a well-established writer/librettist with a broad range of work which includes radio, television and theatre. Previous collaborations include co-writing with comedian Des Bishop, The Performance Corporation and Rough Magic Theatre Company, on productions including Improbable Frequency, Peer Gynt, and The Train, which is currently running at The Abbey Theatre.
Adding to the artistic diversity of the Festival, the play, My Real Life, by Wexford-man and NY Times best-selling author Eoin Colfer has recently been added to the programme. My Real Life will have four weekend performances in the Jerome Hynes Theatre on 27, 28 October and 3, 4 November at 8:30 p.m. Presented by Theatre Royal Productions, My Real Life is a one-man show staring Don Wycherley and directed by Ben Barnes. Described as a play that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure, this touching and entertaining play tells the story of Noel, who has advanced MS and decides to end it all. While waiting for his overdose to take effect, he records an increasingly rambling message full of humour and small-town anecdotes for his best friend.
Other highlights of the Festival include:
- Two other ShortWorks operas; La Scala di seta by Rossini and Rigoletto by Verdi
- Lunchtime Recitals with singers from the operas
- Piano Recital with renowned pianist Finghin Collins
- Gala Concert
- Thomas Moore Songbook with Una Hunt
The Fringe Festival: Wexford Town also hosts a vibrant Fringe Festival to coincide with the Opera Festival, which includes art exhibitions, drama and musical performances. The Fringe Festival is coordinated by the Wexford Chamber of Commerce. Full details: www.wexfordfringe.ie
Come experience Wexford Festival Opera and discover why it has been nominated for 'Best Festival' in the International Opera Awards. For complete programme information, samples of the repertoire and information on accommodation, visit www.wexfordopera.com.
The 66th Wexford Festival Opera is supported by grants from the Arts Council, Wexford County Council and Fáilte Ireland.