Wexford Festival Opera
24th October - 4 November, 2012
Francesco Cilèa (1866–1950)
Obsessed by a woman who is never seen, Federico ruins the lives of those he loves, as well as his own.
Love pervades this story of a young man, Federico, and his family and friends in the countryside near Arles in the south of France. But this is no rural idyll, this is real life. The passions and emotions of Federico, his mother Rosa, Vivetta, who has always loved him, and Metifio, his rival in love, have a powerful universal resonance. Cilèa’s 1897 opera depicts the superstitions surrounding a handicapped child, Federico’s obsessive love for a mysterious woman, his jealousy of Metifio, his mother’s all-consuming love for him, and the shy Vivetta, who loves Federico and suffers agonies of misery over him. At the centre of it all is l’Arlesiana, the woman from Arles. She never appears but – unwittingly, perhaps – pulls the strings as they all dance to her tune.
Written in the nineteenth century verismo tradition favoured by Mascagni, Leoncavallo and Puccini, which depicted the rawness of the everyday lives of ‘ordinary’ people, this is reality opera for the twenty-first century. It includes Cilèa’s best-known aria È la solita storia del pastore, the famous ‘Federico’s Lament’.
Tickets €35 - €130
Emmanuel Chabrier (1841–1894)
A man destined to be king makes hilarious attempts to escape his fate!
Being king isn’t easy but it’s even harder when you are a dissolute French aristocrat sent by your domineering mother – Queen Catherine of Medici, no less – to rule over an unwelcoming foreign populace! Feeling exiled in Poland, Henri, our reluctant king, is consumed by nostalgia for all things French. The frigid weather, the dreary fashion, the drab palace – none of it is to his liking! As he attempts not to be crowned King of Poland the production takes a rapturous ride through all things French, from Louis XVI’s glittering royal court at Versailles to the long sultry summers of St Tropez and the sophisticated nightlife of Monte Carlo in the 1960s.
Written in 1884, Le Roi malgré lui (‘The Reluctant King’) had an ill-starred stage history, but its lively and melodic musical score was a success from the outset and was greatly admired by Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky. With vocal fireworks, comedic cunning, an exuberant chorus and lively dances, all driven by a clever orchestral score, this production captures the essence of Chabrier’s satirically witty comic opera.
Supported by Peter Moores Foundation
Tickets €35 - €130
Frederick Delius (1862–1934)
Love brings them together; feuding fathers keep them apart. Only tragedy will reunite them.
Written between 1899 and 1901, A Village Romeo and Juliet was the fourth of Delius’s six operas and is generally regarded as his finest. Sali and Vreli, his Romeo and Juliet, have the misfortune to live in a small village community in Switzerland, the children of farmers who are at loggerheads over the ownership of a worthless piece of land that by rights should belong to a man known as the Dark Fiddler. Forbidden by their feuding fathers to marry each other, Sali and Vreli are forced to run away together. The Dark Fiddler tries to persuade them to join him and his friends and live together freely. They reject this lifestyle but their guilt at betraying their families leads them to choose a brief, glorious, moment of love, which culminates in their exultant acceptance of death.
Delius’s passionate engagement with the story inspired him to compose rapturous, rhapsodic music that depicts the defencelessness and innocence of the lovers, their youthful idealism and the intense expression of their love. The opera includes the celebrated orchestral interlude, The Walk to the Paradise Garden.
This production is made possible by a generous grant from The Delius Trust
Ticket €35 - €130
The Gala Concert is one of the highlights of the Wexford Festival Opera diary and features a collection of favourite party pieces from members of the Festival company.
Early booking is advised.
Wexford Opera House
Tickets €50 - €60