The history of Wexford Festival Opera, 1951–2021

In a place like no other

Karina Daly

Hardback €36.00
Catalogue Price: €40.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-997-0
September 2021. New Edition. 360pp; Large Format. Full Colour ills.

"Daly forensically and meticulously brings us through the trials and tribulations of the Wexford Festival Opera chronology, bringing to life much of the heretofore unseen labour of those working in the background … We are given an in-depth, fly-on-the-wall view of the running of the festival primarily through the prism of the artistic directors and senior management … The addition of personal recollections from Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Terry Neil, Angela Meade, John O'Donoghue and Colm Tóibín give Daly's historical account of Wexford Festival Opera a well-rounded finish". Gavan Ring, Sound Post Magazine, March 2022

“lavishly illustrated with more than 100 pictures of productions from all periods and other shots of those involved … What Daly has done she has done extremely well. As a history of what one might call the practicalities and logistics of the festival, its finances and dealings and extensions and temporary setbacks, and of the personalities involved in creating it and not merely maintaining it on its path but (in the positive sense) aggrandizing it and bringing it to its high position today, it could scarcely be bettered … There are innumerable worthwhile vignettes, borne of detailed research … [this] volume is entirely up to date”. George Hall, Opera Magazine, November 2021

“Daly’s new book not only documents the full origin story of the festival, but also how it has “survived and triumphed” over the last several decades. In addition, the tome is adorned with more than 130 photographs, as well as written contributions from the likes of author Colm Tòibìn and Irish president Michael D. Higgins. Many people, Daly notes, feel a deep connection to the festival, and everyone seems to have their own story.” Celtic Life Magazine, December 2021

"What is extraordinary about the Wexford Festival Opera is how much has changed, but how much the sacred core has been preserved. The Festival is longer; the opera house is new. But there is something wonderful and special about walking those streets in your best clothes on those Festival nights, when you know that you are going to see an opera you will probably never see again, an opera that deserves to be better known, or has strange and interesting flaws or contains hidden, forgotten treasures." Colm Tòibìn

"My own favourite Festival is Wexford ... the town is small, as is the opera house. That, straight away, means that it is very select and catering for a small public. But the operatic repertory is wide, French, German, Italian. The productions are tasteful and immaculate. It’s small scale but totally delectable. The place is small enough to surround you with new friends all the time, if you were sociable. Food, drink and gossip are everywhere on tap at all times. Salzburg in the early 1920s must have been like this. It is how an opera Festival should be", William Mann, writing in the London Times, 1951.

"It is the people of Wexford who founded the festival and whose continuing welcome and hospitality make it so special. Wexford Festival Opera has a proud history. The Festival is a focal point of the Irish cultural and social calendar. It makes Wexford the essential meeting place for people who enjoy opera and enjoy life", An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD (Prime Minister of Ireland).