Cast announced for 2014 Wexford Festival Opera Festival, Running Oct 22-Nov 2

Cast announced for 2014 Wexford Festival Opera Festival, Running Oct 22-Nov 2

Wexford Festival Opera has announced the casting for the internationally renowned Festival, which this year will run for 12 days, from 22 October to 2 November.

The evening main stage opera productions are Salomé by Antoine Mariotte (1875-1944), based on the play by Oscar Wilde, the 19th-century comedy Don Bucefalo by Antonio Cagnoni (1828-1896) and the European premiere of Kevin Puts's first opera Silent Night which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The opera's libretto by Mark Campbell was inspired by the 2005 film Joyeux Noël about the spontaneous 1914 truce between the combatants in the First World War.

Wexford Festival Opera each year attracts audiences from home and abroad who travel to Wexford to be part of this unique celebration of opera. Renowned for its presentation of rarely-performed operas (winner of 'Best Re-discovered Work' for Cristina, regina di Svezia at this year's International Opera Awards), the Festival also provides audiences with an opportunity to experience performances from leading names and emerging Irish and International talent in opera.

This year's Festival features 60 singers, many of whom will be making their Wexford debuts. The Wexford Festival Orchestra will bring the total company members, including the artistic teams, to more than 150.

The Festival opens with Mariotte's Salomé conducted by David Angus and directed by Rosetta Cucchi, with designs by Tiziano Santi (sets) and Claudia Pernigotti (costumes). The Israeli mezzo-soprano Na'ama Goldman will make her Festival debut in the title role, while Canadian mezzo-soprano Nora Sourouzian will sing the role of Hérodias. Nora impressed audiences and critics alike last year in her performances in the Massenet double bill, in which she sang two widely contrasting roles in the same evening, demonstrating her versatility and talent.

Joining the cast in Salomé is Russian baritone Igor Golovatenko, who will sing the role of Iokanaan. Igor sang in last year's production of Cristina, regina di Svezia. America bass Scott Wilde will make his Wexford Festival debut as Hérod and Irish tenor Eamonn Mulhall returns to his home town of Wexford to sing the role of Narraboth.

Sergio Alapont and Kevin Newbury return to Wexford to conduct and direct Don Bucefalo. Designs are by Erhard Rom (sets) and Vita Tzykun (costumes) in their house debuts. The Italian baritone Alessandro Spina will return to Wexford to sing the title role. Also joining the cast, and new to the Festival, are Italian baritone Davide Bartolucci as Don Marco, Canadian coloratura soprano Marie-Ève Munger as Rosa and American tenor Matthew Newlin as Count Belprato.

Michael Christie, who made his debut at Wexford in 2009 with the Ghosts of Versailles and conducted the premiere of Silent Night in Minnesota in 2011, conducts this new production, which is directed by Tomer Zvulun and designed by Erhard Rom (sets) and Victoria Vita Tzykum (costumes), all making their Festival debuts.

The cast includes: on the German side the American tenor Chad Johnson as Nikolaus Sprink, the Irish soprano Sinead Mulhern as Anna Sorensen; on the Scottish side: the tenor Alexander Sprague as Jonathan Dale, the Irish baritone Gavan Ring as Father Palmer; on the French side: the American baritone Matthew Worth as Lieutenant Audebert, Scott Wilde as General Audebert and the Dutch baritone Quirijn de Lang as Poncel.

Commenting on the process of casting, Artistic Director David Agler said, "Casting for Wexford Festival is uniquely complicated compared to casting an opera season at a dedicated venue. As Wexford offers great exposure to its performers we make a real effort to give these artists as many opportunities as possible to showcase their talents. Many singers will perform in two or three productions or concerts, but matching the vocal talents with the repertoire requires careful planning and casting. All in all it works out and I am particularly excited about the incoming company."

This year's Festival programme includes three main stage evening operas, three Shortworks operas, a Gala Concert and seven lunchtime recitals, plus concerts, lectures and film screenings.

With something to appeal to those discovering the Festival for the first time or opera lovers who return year after year, Wexford Festival Opera is the event to plan for this autumn. Tickets for evening main stage operas begin at €25, with daytime events beginning at just €15. Attractive Daytime Events Packages, which include lunch at Whites Hotel, are also available.

Book on-line 24/7 at www.wexfordopera.com or telephone the box-office at +353 (0)53 912 2144, Monday to Saturday, 9:30-17:30.