The impact of Alfano's 1904 opera Risurrezione at Wexford last night brought the audience to their feet, and the prolonged applause and cheering said it all - the audience had been captured by a mixture of an extremely effective piece and stunning performances all round, especially from the two people pictured above.
Lovingly, meticulously, and energetically conducted by Francesco Ciluffo, in a production ingeniously and beautifully designed by Tiziano Santi and Claudia Pernigotti, Rosetta Cucchi's impeccable direction gave us a clear emotional narrative of great power. This production is said to be going to Monte Carlo so if you can't get to Wexford in the next two weeks the Côte d'Azur is not such a bad alternative in due course! But they had better get Duprels and Schneider - they really made it work.
On Thursday evening there was an even greater rarity - Jacopo Foroni's Margherita. This was an enjoyable novelty with a charming cast including Giuliana Gianfaldoni, seen above with Errol Girdlestone's superb Wexford Festival Chorus. It was also a pleasure to catch up with Andrew Stenson and Yuriy Yurchuk. I am not convinced however that this piece will rejoin the repertoire of opera houses around the world unlike the Alfano which seems to me to have real possibilities. But I was delighted to add it to my "collection" anyway - and the production by Michael Sturm from the Oldenburg State Theatre gave the work the finest possible chance, as did the conductor Timothy Myers, whose distinguished conducting of Vanessa at last year's festival is a fine memory.
The last opera for me this year is Cherubini's Medea this afternoon - not a novelty at all though not so often performed these days. The amazing Lise Davidsen sings the title role. She will certainly be noticed!
These few days here have been somewhat emotional, the first performance of my first season as Artistic Director having taken place exactly 50 years ago, on October 21 1967. I was much touched by the current Artistic Director David Agler making some remarks from the stage before yesterday evening's performance. Thank you David, it is always such a treat to be here, in a place which provided such a great additional foundation for the rest of my now 55 years in opera!!
There seems to be some blue sky outside. Maybe a walk is called for!