The history of Wexford Festival Opera, 1951–2021
In a place like no other
"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).