Andrew Haji (Hélios) and Olga Busuioc (Lilia) in Herculanum - Wexford 2016
I faced the prospect of Félicien David's opera with some trepidation and to an extent my fears seemed to have been well founded after Act 1. But then things took off and it was unalloyed pleasure until the end of this long evening. This was a thoroughly good idea.
Thanks to total commitment, excellent singing, and all round performances from the three protagonists - Olga Busuioc, Andrew Haji, and Simon Bailey (Nicanor) - magnificent work from the top class Wexford Festival chorus, and the orchestra under Jean-Luc Tingaud - this was a vintage Wexford evening. It was something to be hugely grateful for whether you an avid collector of rare works, or just an ordinary opera goer who is thrilled by the special combination of theatre, singing, and uninhibited music making which characterises the 19th century version of our wonderful art form.
Yesterday afternoon provided an opportunity to enjoy William Walton's charming The Bear. This was one of the three short works performed by young members of the company to keep the festival audience amused during the afternoons. And very well done it was - with a particularly attractive young widow in Sarah Richmond, delivering a feisty and very well sung performance, a wicked Luka from Ashley Mercer, and a finely acted Bear from Rory Musgrave. A lovely way to spend an hour.
This afternoon it will be the turn of Donizetti - Il campanello. This will be preceded by a lunchtime recital in St Iberius church by Andrew Haji and Sophie Gordeladze - two of our favourite singers this week!
As you can see I am having a fun three days here in this great little place!