Festival Diary: Wexford Festival Opera 2018, Day 1

By Alan Neilson

For those not familiar with Ireland, Wexford is a small town tucked away in the “sunny southeast,” although, it is not immune from its fair share of wind and rain. It is a small fishing port perched on the mouth of the River Slaney, which looks out over the Irish Sea. The town, which has an attractive sleepy feel, has a very long history, and its streets retain their old medieval pattern.

During October and November, the Wexford Festival Opera and its fringe take over, which the local people enthusiastically and proudly embrace, making it a friendly and welcoming place.

The day’s events start early. There is a lunchtime recital at St. Iberius’ Church, featuring a cast member from one of the operas.

In the afternoon at White’s Hotel, there is a shortened version of a well-known opera. There are also talks and other musical events, not to mention the fringe festival events.

The main operas are staged in the refreshingly formal, yet welcoming, atmosphere of Ireland’s National Opera house; bow ties and dinner jackets are preferred.

I arrived on the 4:00 train from Dublin, and met up with the talented, young mezzo-soprano, Sharon Carty who, as well as performing as Lucy in William Bolcom’s opera “Dinner at Eight,” will give a recital at St Iberius’s later this week. She kicked-off my four-day stay with a very interesting and insightful interview, in which among many other things she talked about her forthcoming CD, to be recorded next year.


Special Features