Music and Magic to fill the National Opera House

from 21 Oct – 6 Nov 2022

Wed 20 October 2021: Today WFO Artistic Director Rosetta Cucchi announced details of her programme for the 71st Wexford Festival Opera which will run for 17 days from 21 October – 6 November 2022.

The programme is built around the theme of Magic & Music and will feature three main stage operas, La Tempesta, Lalla Roukh and Armida;  two Pocket Opera|Opera beag: The Master based on the book by Colm Tóibín and The Spectre Knight by Alfred Cellier; a new commissioned opera by our 2022 Artist-in-Residence Conor Mitchell, and after hours Cabaret des Artistes; an exciting series of Pop-Up events; III° edition of the Wexford Factory and a production of Cinderella written by the 16 year old composer Alma Elizabeth Deutscher.

Speaking today Rosetta Cucchi said, “After a long period where we passed through a terrible reality, we need a touch of magic to believe in.  The quote I picked for next year’s festival is Shut your eyes and see,  from Ulysses by James Joyce and it is just what each of us should do, closing our eyes and freeing our imagination”.

There will be three main stage operas, each of which will be performed four times.

The opening production will be LA TEMPESTA (1850), composed by Fromental Halevy, with a libretto by Eugene Scribe after Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It was first performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre London in June 1850. The production will be conducted by Francesco Cilluffo and directed by Arturo Cirillo. Sung in Italian. A co-production with Teatro C. Coccia Novara Italy.

Performance dates: O’Reilly Theatre Oct 21, 24, 29 and Nov 3.

LALLA ROUKH (1862) composed by Felician David, with a libretto by Michael Carré and Hippolyte Lucas. The production will be conducted by David Angus and staged by the Irish director Orpha Pheelan. The first performance was at the Opéra-Comique on 12 May 1862. Performance dates: O’Reilly Theatre, Oct 22, 25, 30 and Nov 4.

Armida (1904) Composed by Antonín Dvořák, with a libretto by Jaroslav Vrchlický. Armida was first performed at Prague’s National Theatre on 25 March 1904 and the production will be conducted by Norbert Baxa and directed by Dmitry Bertman. A co-production with Pilsen Theatre (Czech Republic).

Performance dates: O’Reilly Theatre,  Oct 23, 28 and Nov 2, 5.

Cinderella (2015), composed by 16-year-old Alma Elizabeth Deutscher will be performed by members of the Wexford Festival Ensemble. At the age of ten, Alma Elizabeth Deutscher wrote her first full-length opera. At twelve she premiered her first piano concerto. Cinderella had its European premiere in Vienna in 2016 conducted by Zubin Mehta and it’s U.S. premiere a year later at Opera San Jose. It was also released on DVD by Sony Classical.  At the age of twelve, Deutscher premiered her first piano concerto and made her debut at Carnegie Hall in 2019. The stage director will be Davide Gasparro.

Performance dates: O’Reilly Theatre, Oct 26, 29, 31 and Nov 5

Wexford Festival Opera is delighted to announce a new opera commission from the WFO Artist-in-Residence 2022 Conor Mitchell. Details will be announced in the coming months. On Oct 26 there will be a chance to meet and ask questions in a ‘Meeting The Composer’ event.

Audiences can also enjoy some exciting daytime Pocket Opera | Opera Beag which will include:

  • The Master (2016) composed by Alberto Caruso, based on the novel of the same name by Colm Tóibín who also wrote the libretto. This will be performed in the Jerome Hynes Theatre. Stage Director will be Sinead O’Neil.
  • The Spectre Knight (1878) (a fanciful farsa) composed by Alfred Cellier, with libretto by James  Albery, which was first performed at the Opéra-Comique, London 9 Feb 1878. Performed at Wexford Arts Centre, the Stage Director Laysyan Safargulova.

An unmissable Gala with Orchestra will feature the celebrated Mezzo Soprano Daniela Barcellona, conducted by Alessandro Vitiello and performed by the Wexford Festival Orchestra in the O’Reilly Theatre Oct 27.

The ever popular Gala Concert will take place on Nov 1 in the O’Reilly Theatre while the Lunchtime Recitals will return to their traditional home at St Iberius Church. The festival will come to a rousing conclusion with a final concert on Nov 6 performed at the piano and conducted by the acclaimed Barry Douglas and the Wexford Festival Orchestra.

The Tom Walsh lecture, (Oct 27, Jerome Hynes Theatre) Shakespeare’s Rough Magic, will be delivered by Patrick Spottywoode (Director of Education at the Shakespeare Globe in London and former chairman of each of the US Shakespeare Associations)

WFO 2022 will also see the introduction of an after hours Theatre Café, Cabaret Des Artistes.

An exciting and eclectic programme of Pop-Up Events will take place during the festival.  Free pop-up, multi-disciplinary performances featuring music, drama, singing and dance which will be performed in non-traditional settings in various locations around Wexford town.

The III° edition of the Wexford Factory will see a new group of artists start the two-year professional development academy, which enables young singers to develop and learn from some of the best artists and coaches in the world.  Wexford Festival Opera has a long history of being a springboard for many young singers at the beginning of their careers, helping them move onto the international stage. The Wexford Factory, which is open to young Irish or Irish-based singers, builds on this tradition, mentoring young singers through masterclasses led by internationally recognised artists and professionals. The Wexford Factory  III° edition will once again be an international collaboration, with TUD (Technological University Dublin), RIAM (Royal Irish Academy of Music), the Bolshoi Young Artists Opera Programme, Moscow and the Rossini Opera Festival “Alberto Zedda” Academy, Pesaro.

Once again audiences can experience some Impossible interviews (Oct 25 and Nov 2), details of which will be announced in the coming months.

Wexford Festival Opera would like to thank The Arts Council, Wexford County Council, Fáilte Ireland/Ireland’s Ancient East and the Festival’s Friends, sponsors and donors for their continued support.

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