Musicals & Opera

Evening Opera; Koanga

Sung in English

Koanga was Delius’s third completed opera, composed between 1895 and 1897, about ten years before A Village Romeo and Juliet (Wexford, 2012).

Koanga is an African prince and voodoo priest sold into slavery on a Louisiana plantation.  The mulatto maid Palmyra is told to try to persuade him to become reconciled to his situation and she succeeds so well that they fall in love.  But Palmyra is the half-sister of the planter’s wife and cannot be allowed to marry a slave, so she is abducted to prevent the marriage.  The result is a voodoo curse on the plantation and violence that culminates in Palmyra’s suicide and the killing of Koanga.

A short introductory talk will take place in the Jerome Hynes Theatre one hour before the performance.

O’Reilly Theatre, National Opera House

21st, 24th (SOLD OUT), 27th, 30th (SOLD OUT) Oct 20:00 Tickets: €25 – €145 (A)


Evening Opera; Guglielmo Ratcliff

Sung in Italian with English subtitles

Mascagni was captivated by the young Scottish romantic anti-hero of Heine’s play Wilhelm Ratcliff, and he began composing his opera Guglielmo Ratcliff.

The opera is set in northern Scotland and concerns the tragic consequences of broken relationships in two generations.  Maria MacGregor rejected Guglielmo Ratcliffas a husband but he is determined that no-one else shall marry her and challenges other suitors to duels, killing two of them.  As Maria prepares to marry Count Douglas she learns that her mother and Guglielmo’s father had loved each other.  However, her mother changed her mind and married MacGregor.  The erstwhile lovers later resumed their relationship, but Maria’s father, MacGregor, killed Guglielmo’s father out of jealousy and Maria’s mother died of a broken heart.  Guglielmo is haunted by the ghosts of the men hehas killed and in his final delirium he kills Maria, her father and himself.

A short introductory talk will take place in the Jerome Hynes Theatre one hour before the performance.

O’Reilly Theatre, National Opera House

22nd, 28th, 31st (SOLD OUT) Oct 20:00

25th Oct 17:00 Tickets: €25-€145 (A)


Evening Opera; Le Pre aux Clercs

Sung in French with English subtitles.

Three women are at the heart of Herold’s last and finest opera comique, but because the year is 1572 they are little more than pawns in a male-dominated society.  Nicette is the exception, happy about her forthcoming marriage to Girot, hotelier from the Pre aux Clercs, across the Seine from the Louvre Palace.  Marguerite de Valois, godmother of Nicette, is the wife of King Henry of Navarre and the sister of the king of Francen Henri III, but she is held in Paris as a virtual prisoner and hostage to peace.

A young countess, Isabelle, Marguerite’s lady-in-waiting, is in love with Baron de Mergy from Navarre and he with her, but Henri wishes her to marry Comte de Comminge.  Marguerite is told that she may return to Navarre but Isabelle must marry Comminge.  Marguerite helps Mergy and Isabelle to marry secretly.  Mergy kills Comminge in a duel and escapes with Isabelle across the border to Navarre.

A short introductory talk will take place in the Jerome Hynes Theatre one hour before the performance.

O’Reilly Theatre, National Opera House

23rd (SOLD OUT), 26th, 29th Oct 20:00

1st Nov 17:00 Tickets: €25 – €145 (A)


ShortWork; The Portrait of Manon

Sung in French with English Subtitles.

Manon Lescaut, a young woman with an ardent and loving nature, as well as extravagant and luxurious tastes, who came to the moralist’s “bad end”, was the heroine of a short novel by Abbe Prèvost.

Massenet wrote The Portrait of Manon as a one-act opera comique sequel or epilogue ten years after his superlatively successful 1884 opera Manon.  In it, she returns to the character of the Chevalier Des Grieux, now an old man who is obsessed with memories of Manon, his lost love.  Des Grieux’s nephew Jean is in love with Aurore but she is neither wealthy nor of noble birth and Des Grieux forbids their marriage, possibly not wanting Jean to be hurt in love as he was hurt by Manon.  However, it turns out that Aurore is the niece of Des Grieux’s beloved Manon and so all ends happily.

Whites Hotel

22nd, 28th Oct 15:30

25th Oct 11:00 Tickets: €25 (A)


ShortWork; Hansel and Gretel

Sung in English

This was the story of a young brother and sister in the forest and their escape from the witch who intended to eat them.  The story probably originated in the Great Famine (1315-1317) in Northern Europe, when desperation, caused by starvation and disease, led to child abandonment and cannibalism.

Whites Hotel

23rd, 26th, 29th, 31st Oct 15:30 Tickets: €25 (A)


ShortWork; Tosca

Sung in Italian.

Three opening chords, which represent the vindictive character of Scarpia, are heard at the beginning, so the opening scenes in the church are underpinned by an atmosphere of political instability.  Menace and fear are frighteningly normal and reflect the historical reality of the political background of Rome in June, 1800, when the Kingdom of Naple’s control of Rome was threatened by Napoleon’s invasion of Italy.  This instability is increased by the contrasting lyrical beauty of the arias and duets of Tosca and Cavaradossi.  But their happiness is doomed.  Caravadossi helps Angelotti, an escaped political prisoner, to hide, which brings him to the attention of Scarpia, who lusts after Tosca and will do anything to make her his own, including destroying Caravadossi.

Whites Hotel

24th, 27th , 30th Oct 15:30

1st Nov 11:00 Tickets: €25 (A)


Lunchtime Recitals

The very popular Lunchtime Recitals provide an insight into the artistic personality of some of the principal singers of the Festival and are a way to meet them in an informal setting.

St. Iberius Church

22nd, 23rd, 24th, 27th, 28th , 29th , 30th , 31st Oct 13:05 Tickets: €15 (A)


Gala Concert

The Gala Concert is one of the highlights of Wexford Festival Opera and features a collection of favourite party pieces from members of the Festival Company.  All proceeds go toward supporting the programmes of Wexford Festival Opera.

O’Reilly Theatre, National Opera House

25th Oct 21:00 Tickets: €50-€80 (A)


Celebrity Recital; Tara Erraught

Dundalk-born mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught garners critical praise and enthusiastic audience acclaim wherever her increasingly busy international opera career takes her.  Tara came to worldwide attention in February 2011.  In 2010 she received the National Concert Hall, Dublin’s, Rising Star Award.  She is the youngest recipient, and only the fifth musician, to have received this annual award since its instigation in 2000.  Tara performed with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in Dublin in March, 2015.  During the spring and summer of 2015 she will sing with the Hamburg Staatsoper, the Bayerische Staatsoper, Washington National Opera and in the Dominican Republic.

O’Reilly Theatre, National Opera House

26th Oct 11:00 Tickets: €25 (A)


Piano Recital

The Tenth Dublin International Piano Competition took place between 15 and 26 May 2015.  Sixty-nine selected applicants from eighteen countries, including six from Ireland, competed in front of a panel of distinguished judges for monetary prizes and professional engagements.

The winner of the 2015 competition was Nathalia Milstein (18) from France.  Nathalia will begin a career with a number of important debut engagements that come with the first prize: Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, the National Concert Hall in Dublin and the National Opera House, Wexford as part of Wexford Festival Opera.

O’Reilly Theatre | National Opera House

31th Oct 11:00 Tickets: €25 (A)


Oyster Lane Hairspray LogoOyster Lane Theatre Group

Oyster Lane Theatre Group presents the hit Broadway and West End musical ‘Hairspray’. With music written by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, this fun filled musical features some of ‘The Nicest Kids in Town’, as Oyster Lane Theatre Group celebrates their 21st birthday with a bang, proving ‘You can’t stop their beat’.

Dun Mhuire Theatre, South Main Street

20th – 24th Oct 20:00 Nightly

25th Oct 14:30 Matinee Tickets: available from 10th October €12 (C)


Wexford Light Opera Society 1‘Hits from the Musicals’

Wexford Light Opera Society perform the ‘Hits from the Musicals’ in a cabaret style relaxed setting.  One of the most popular fringe events of the festival.  Early booking is essential.
Whites of Wexford

26th – 29th Oct 20:00 Tickets: €20 (P)