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Are you an opera fan? Or has it always been a dream of yours to have a night at the opera? The drama, the luxury, the beauty and the emotion — it is a truly unique and special way to spend an evening. In Ireland we have our very own award-winning Wexford Opera Festival, if you have been a long standing attendee or would like to dip your toe this October here’s whats on the line-up this year.

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The Wexford Festival Opera has been running for over 68 years, and has become one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious opera festivals, it won Best Opera Festival in the world at the 2017 International Opera Awards. This year, audiences can look forward to 13 days of spectacular performances, including three evening operas, three daytime ShortWorks operas, a gala concert, recitals and more.

The festival was born out of the community of Wexford and founded by a group of local opera enthusiasts, spearheaded by a local doctor, a hotel owner and a postman and supported by the community of Wexford, which now boasts a dedicated and dynamic volunteer force of nearly 400, adding very personal touch to the experience.

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At the Wexford Opera Festival this October Rossini’s Adina will be prefaced by the World Premiere of La Cucina (The Kitchen) by Irish composer Andrew Synnott which tells the story of a chef's assistant Bianca.  Starring Opera diva Rachel Kelly, Levy Strauss Sekgapane and Máire Flavin the music channels the comic spirit of Rossini as it follows the ups and downs of our heroine. It is joyous and passionate in equal measure and full to the brim with ravishing orchestral colour.

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The Dublin-based composer Andrew Synnott in action.


We caught up with Dublin-based composer, arranger, conductor and pianist, Andrew Synnott who composed La Cucina which will premiere at the festival this year, its a companion piece to be performed before Adina by Gioachino Rossini, a co-production with Rossini Opera Festival. We caught up with him to hear more about being Irish and an Opera maestro…

Describe opera in 3 words?
Drama, passion and beauty.

Tell us something people wouldn’t know about being an opera composer?
Even the most detailed instructions given to singers and players about how the music should sound only partially guarantees a great outcome. The music is often utterly transformed when the singers and players apply their own musicality to the music you have written for them. The most exciting thing about this is that it always sounds better than you imagined it would.

Do you always dress in black tie for each performance?
Tuxedos and tails are an essential part of the performer’s wardrobe, particularly for conducting. Old dress-code formulae are being broken down more and more, which I welcome. I am happier on the casual end of the concert-wear spectrum but dressing to look the part is very important too.


Wexford Opera Festival takes place from Tuesday, October 22nd to November 3rd, and will stage beautiful operas, such as Don Quichotte and La Cucina and Adina, as well as lectures, buffets and so much more. Every main stage performance at the festival is black-tie — meaning there will be some serious style to be seen at the performances.  Since the festival began in 1951, the dress code has always been black-tie and evening wear and it’s a tradition that audiences today still want to observe. The festival says, our motto is: We dress to celebrate, not intimidate!



It’s not over until the stylish lady sings. Read our interview with this rising star in The Last Word with Lyra.