Lost gems sparkle at Wexford Opera Festival
Friday 11 November 2011
Behind a modest terrace on Wexford's high street, a state-of-the-art opera house opens up like a tardis. Since the 1950s the annual Wexford Opera Festival has been a fixture in the international opera calendar. Some of the world's greatest singers have made their debuts here; and forgotten gems have been rediscovered.
This year was no exception. Maria, by the Polish composer Roman Statkowski (1859-1925), is a political tale set in the 17th century, but director Michael Gieleta updated it to the Solidarity era of the early 1980s. Based on Gieleta's childhood memories of Poland under martial rule, the production added a universal resonance to the music's high romanticism. The wonderful Polish tenor Rafal Bartminski excelled as the heroic but unfortunate Waclaw, powerfully matched by Krzysztof Szumanski as his despotic father.
Donizetti's Gianni di Parigi, by contrast, is a comedy of manners and food in which a disguised prince and the princess he wants to marry outwit each other, aided and abetted by a baffled hotelier – imagine Wills and Kate at Fawlty Towers. Tenor Edgardo Rocha oozed nonchalant charm as the Dauphin, with Zuzana Markova as a bright-toned, triumphant Princess. But it was the Italian mezzo Lucia Cirillo, in the trouser-role of the page boy Oliviero, who stole the show with her persuasive tone and outstanding artistry.
Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigourfilm
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
- 2 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action