Festival Diary 2019: Wexford Festival Opera, Day 5

By Alan Neilson
(Photo: Zbychu Novak)

The sun returned and was shining brightly on Wexford town for what was a more relaxing day, and a chance to write up a few performance reviews from the festival. First off, however, I took a stroll around the town, and found the house of the mother of Thomas Moore, whose poetic romance “Lalla Roohk” is the basis for tomorrow’s concert performance of Charles Villiers Stanford, “The Veiled Prophet.”

The performance will feature Simon Mechlinski in the role of Mokanna. The Polish baritone is enjoying his time at the festival, in which he also features as The Mayor in Bizets’s “Doctor Miracle.” So, during the afternoon I took the opportunity to interview him, in what turned out to be an interesting chat about his career, his influences, future plans and ambitions.

Tomorrow is my final day in Wexford, but will again be a busy one! As well as the concert performance of “The Veiled prophet,” I shall be interviewing the Irish mezzo-soprano, Rachel Kelly, whose performance in “Adina” was so enthusiastically received, and attending a recital by the Icelandic baritone, Olafur Sigurdarson, whose powerful portrayal as Sancho in Massenet’s “Don Quichotte was one of the highlights of the week.