FT on the Future of Wexford Opera Festival

*Wexford’s dilemma for future operas*
By Andrew Clark
Published: October 27 2004 03:00 | Last updated: October 27 2004 03:00
When Wexford’s opera festival was young and innocent, audiences used to talk of “one for the head, one for the heart and one for fun”. It was a neat way of summarising Wexford’s diet of obscure operas, which for the past 50 years have provided aficionados with the perfect excuse for an autumn break in southern Ireland.
Even though the festival has matured, it remains sui generis, drawing its atmosphere from Wexford’s narrow streets, the smell of sea air and the welcome of its couthy populace, many of whom serve as festival volunteers.
But the opera world has undergone huge changes in the past quarter-century. Unlike the situation in Wexford’s early days, talented young singers now have plenty of other opportunities to get noticed. Mainstream opera companies are bolder in programming, and recordings have opened our ears to a wealth of neglected music.
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