Wexford Festival Opera changes 2019 repertoire ‘for financial reasons’

Vivaldi opera has smaller cast than previous planned production

Final checks made on stage just before opening the doors for the opening of the 57th Wexford Opera Festival. Photograph: David Sleator/Irish Times

Final checks made on stage just before opening the doors for the opening of the 57th Wexford Opera Festival. Photograph: David Sleator/Irish Times

 

Wexford Festival Opera is making a change to the previously announced repertoire for the 2019 festival. The festival, which is to take place from Tuesday, October 22nd, to Sunday, November 3rd, is replacing Weber’s Der Freischütz of 1821 with a production of Vivaldi’s Dorilla in Tempe of 1734.

Dorilla in Tempe will become the second Vivaldi opera to be produced in Ireland. Irish National Opera has already scheduled a production of the composer’s Griselda, which starts a nationwide tour on October 12th, 10 days before the start of the Wexford festival.

The festival says the change is “mainly for financial reasons, although we are happy that it will provide an interesting and attractive addition to the programme”. Der Freischütz has a cast of 12, Dorilla in Tempe just six. And the orchestral forces required by the Vivaldi amount to less than half the full complement of the Orchestra of Wexford Festival Opera.

The festival experienced box office challenges last year, and has reduced the number of days and opera performances for this year’s festival.

Der Freischütz would have marked a move towards standard repertoire for a festival that has made its reputation on rare opera. Dorilla in Tempe cancels out that change of direction.

It will be the first baroque opera to be presented in Wexford since Handel’s Ariodante in 1985, and the Wexford production will follow on from performances presented by Venice’s Fondazione Teatro La Fenice in the city’s Teatro Malibran next April and May.

The opera’s most recent recording was made by the Venice production’s conductor, Diego Fasolis, and issued on CD in 2017.

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