Festival Diary 2019: Wexford Festival Opera, Final Day

By Alan Neilson

My sixth and final day here in Wexford, and there is no let up; events and interviews continue apace.

Today stated with a lively and interesting interview with the star of Rossini’s “Adina,” mezzo soprano, Rachel Kelly. She talked about her time here in Wexford and why the festival is so very special to her.

There was just time for a quick coffee before it was back to St. Iberius’ for the lunchtime recital, which was given by the Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson. He has an attractive and appealing personality  which he used to delight the audience, but it was the strength and expressivity of the voice which really caught the attention. His recital was fairly wide ranging, taking in Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Gershwin and much more, including a series of songs from his homeland.

One of the more interesting presentations of this year’s festival is the first performance in English of Charles Villiers Stanford’s “The Veiled Prophet,” which was sung in German at its premier in Hannover, after having failed to get a performance in the United Kingdom. A strong cast which included Irish tenor, Gavin Ring, Irish soprano, Sinead Campbell-Wallace, and Polish baritone, Simon Mechlinski, along with a chorus in good voice and spirited playing from the Orchestra of the Wexford Festival Opera made a strong case fo further performances.

And so its goodbye to Wexford for another year, but I am already looking forward to next year’s festival under its enterprising and energetic new Artistic Director, Rosetta Cucchi.