EventsVideo November, 24th 2011 by

Wexford Festival Opera -Treasure is Found in the Most Unlikely Places.

 Wexford Festival Opera – Treasure is found in the most unlikely places.

The Artistic Director of Wexford Festival Opera, Mr.David Agler, announces the main stage programme for the 60th Wexford Festival Opera 2011 from Wexford Opera House. 60th Wexford Festival. The Theatre Royal was demolished and The Wexford Opera House built on the same site. The doors opened for the first production on the 16 of October 2008.

Hook Head Lighthouse East-Ireland

Wexford is a small and charming seaside town in the South East of Ireland where one of the world most remarkable festivals has taken place since 1951. This festival just gives life to neglected operas and introducing opera lovers to forgotten master pieces. The production is magnificent and has delighted the international audiences and proved to be very challenging for the critics.
Over the years, tens of thousands of people from all over the world have made the pilgrimage to Wexford searching for some operatic treasures. During the festival a person would sense that there is grand feeling of excitement among the people, throughout the town. A period spent during these two weeks of the festival, would create unforgettable memories of joy and pleasure that keep bringing the people back to Wexford.
This small town offers, during the festival period, many side programs of morning events, concerts, recitals, short operas and late night revues in many venues in the town.

Wexford Theater Before 2008

This year, 21st October to the 4th of November 2011, is the 60th anniversary of the Wexford Festival Opera, during which three obscure operas where performed:
La Cour de Celimence (1855) composed by Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896), where a humiliated woman takes her revenge on men. It was sung in French. It has not been performed since 150 years.

Ambroise Thomas

Ambroise Thomas was a French composer. He was celebrated and praised during his life time and to a lesser extent after his death. His most famous and popular work is Mignon which was staged, thousands of times, around the world.
I have attended, and very much enjoyed, the production of his opera Hamlet, which was performed in Barcelona, recently in which Natalie Dessay played the part of Ophelia.
Le Cour de Celimence is charming and beautiful French comedy integrated with Italian influenced music. It is a mystery that this charming opera did not become popular over the years. A good reason would be that it is anti-romantic, as Celimence vows contempt for the whole male race?
A case also could be made that it became out of fashion and lost its specific bourgeois audience to the more suitable modern entertainment where love and marriage became of significant importance and more fundamental practise in society.
The dialogue is brilliant, with most interesting characters that we experience in our daily lives.
After the star soprano Marie Caroline Miolan-Carvalho, for whom the part of Celimence was written, died 1895, it seems, as if, the popularity of this opera has died with her.
The following is a short video relates to this opera

Maria (1903) composed by Roman Statkowski(1859-1925) where a father wants power and wealth for his son rather than love. It was a very powerful and gripping performance and was sung in Polish.

Roman Statkowski

In the last decade of the 19th century, Poland enjoyed a cultural revival which led to the establishment of the Warsaw Hall and Philharmonic orchestra in 1901. This newly founded institution, with the help of some financially rich individuals, commissioned the competition which Statkowski won with Maria. The demand for the competition was for the opera to be based on the epic poem by Antoni Malczewski called Maria. Statkowski was well established figure by the time the he won this competition; he has previously won the London International Opera Competition in 1903 with his opera Filenis that he composed in 1897. After winning the Maria competition he secured a position in the Conservatory in Warsaw to spend the rest of his life teaching.
Statkowski Maria paid homage to tradition while embracing the cosmopolitan and modern ideas. The first act included traditional choral music, while act 2 shows the Polish Knights singing the famous Polish hymn Bogurodzica (Mother of God) being a traditional hymn for Polish Knights going into battle in the medieval period. The haunting woodwind melody transported us to Lithuania where the story takes place. Beside these traditional sounds of melodies, the music in style puts us in the minds of Borodin and Tchaikovsky.
The dramatic epic opera in general was largely narrative and descriptive if related to other musical works. Love did float by in a duet with great presentation of romance and emotions.
When such music is revived, it gives us enjoyment and pleasure to listen to it and to widen our experiences which are naturally limited culturally and socially.
The following is a short link relates to Maria

Gaetano Donizetti

Gianni di Parigi (1839) composed by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) where it shows that it is good to know the woman a man wishes to marry and the women’s own observation of that man. It was sung in Italian.
Over the year there were 16 Donizetti operas performed at Wexford Festival Opera making his works as the most frequently performed at Wexford..
Gianni di Parigi is a case where to discover great work of art, buried in the dustbins of history.
The opera was forgotten for more than 100 years. until 1988 when it was performed in Bergamo, where Donizetti was born. The opera did not meet success and appreciation when it was first introduced on stage. The critics classified it as boring. It was performed in many Italian cities without success. It is a tale of one practical joker being outwitted by another. Although it was not appreciated in the period it was written, it is vibrant, romantic and exiting to be appreciated in today’s world. It is a vehicle to portray the personalities of the characters, actors-singers, expressing larger than life characters in total musical harmony.
The following is a short link to this opera

The Gala
My wife and I have attended, beside these operas, the Gala Concert which was rich with fun, entertainment, and charm.
I wonder who had enjoyed the production of the Gala Concert more, was it the international audience or the performers on the stage?
The 2 hours 15 minutes Gala Concert is one of the highlights during the Festival and not to be missed.
You can easily fall in love with the Opera and with the Wexford Festival atmosphere of elegance and joy.
The fringe benefits of this period in Wexford are the Art & Craft exhibitions, the Singing and Swinging Pubs, the friendly and fun loving Irish people and much more.
Nael Marar

Johnstown Castle, Co Wexford, Ireland


Nael Marar

Nael George Marar is a cultured and a popular personality around Marbella and environs. He is a lover of the arts, and  has had a distinguished professional career as an Electrical Engineer B.Sc, and Chartered Electrical Engineer M.I.E.E.

Nael George Marar

A cultured and a popular personality around Marbella and environs. He is a lover of the arts, and has had a distinguished professional career as an Electrical Engineer B.Sc, and Chartered Electrical Engineer M.I.E.E.

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