WEXFORD OPERA FESTIVAL
19 October - 5 November
Umberto Giordano/Franco Leoni (1760–1948)
Set in San Francisco, the opera opens upon the fifth hour of the Chinese new year's day. Chim-Fen, the owner of an opium den, wants to marry Ah-Joe, the daughter of the merchant Hu-Tsin, but she only has eyes for San-Lui. During the procession of the dragon when everyone is distracted, Chim-Fen kidnaps Hu-Tsin’s son Hu-Chi, hoping that his father will offer Ah-Joe’s hand in marriage to whoever finds his boy. But San-Lui discovers the child before Chim-Fen can return him, so Chim-Fen murders the man with a hatchet. Ah-Joe is driven literally insane with grief over the death of her lover. San-Lui’s father, the distinguished doctor Win-Shee, finds the little boy and returns him to Hu-Tsin. Quietly speaking to Chim-Fen, who feigns indignation over San-Lui’s murder, as they sit on a bench, Win-Shee first stabs, then strangles, the horrible man who murdered his son. A policeman walking by thinks the two men, one of whom is dead, are engrossed in conversation. When he turns the corner, the body drops to the ground. San-Lui is dead, Ah-Joe is insane, and a good and decent man has been driven to murder.
19, 25, 28, 31 October, 3 November
European Premiere - "DINNER AT EIGHT"
William Bolcom (1938–)
Set in Depression-era Manhattan, the Kaufman–Ferber play revolves around an ill-fated dinner organized by Millicent Jordan, a society hostess labelled “vapid” by the playwrights themselves. In the week preceding the party, Millicent’s husband, Oliver, is diagnosed with a fatal heart disorder and discovers that his struggling shipping line has become the object of a hostile takeover; their daughter Paula’s lover (dissipated matinée idol Larry Renault, also an invitee) stages a theatrical suicide; the guests of honor, an English lord and lady, blow off the engagement and decamp for Florida; and the cook’s pièce de résistance, a much-hyperbolized lobster in aspic, comes crashing to the kitchen floor… In adapting the witty and biting Depression-era play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, Pulitzer- Prize and Grammy Award-winning composer William Bolcom (A view from the Bridge, A Wedding ), and renowned librettist Mark Campbell (Silent Night, The Shining, Elizabeth Cree) have created a winning new work that successfully weds American musical comedy and opera.
20, 23, 26 October, 1, 4 November
Saverio Mercadante (1795–1870)
Set in 16th-century Venice, the Bravo of the title is a tormented character who long ago killed his wife in a fit of jealousy; unjustly accused of plotting against the state, he has been forced by the Council of Ten to become their secret hired assassin, while his father is held hostage to compel his obedience. The story also involves Pisani, a young man under sentence of banishment, in love with a girl whom he believes to be immured in Venice; Violetta, the girl in question, who has been under the protection of the Bravo since the murder of her guardian by a would-be abductor; and Teodora, a wealthy foreigner living in Venice, who turns out to be not only Violetta’s mother but also the Bravo’s wife, whom he had not killed after all. To compound these complications the Bravo, moved by Pisani’s predicament, allows him to borrow the mask and dagger of his office and impersonate the official assassin for two days. In this capacity, Teodora employs him to rescue her daughter from the stranger who has apparently abducted her (that is, the Bravo himself).
21, 24, 27, 30 October, 2 November
WEXFORD FRINGE EVENT
Every year at Wexford festival time the streets, pubs and restaurants are abuzz with excitement. The Fringe Festival takes place alongside the Opera festival and offers a huge array of events and activities for all ages, tastes and styles. Wexford Fringe offers an electric mix of over 300 events over 17 days including cabaret, comedy, circus, dance, film, theatre, puppetry, music and visual art, many of which are free to attend. www.wexfordfringe.ie
During the festival, the Wexford Spiegeltent will host an array of award-winning performances. The eclectic programme of events features contemporary music, comedy, theatre, film, classical music and burlesque. Highlights in previous years include Bell X1, Alabama 3, Mick Flannery, Jason Byrne, Camille O'Sullivan, Tommy Fleming, Jack L, Donovan and Paul Brady to name but a few. www.wexfordspiegeltent.com