Guglielmo Ratcliff, the opera that Mascagni thought his best, is completely unknown outside County Wexford! But now the BBC Radio 3 audience had the chance to hear yesterday evening's performance live from Wexford's amazing little opera house. The piece is rarely done, in part because of the scary nature of the title role, hugely demanding for even the bravest of tenors. By some miracle David Agler and his colleagues discovered just such a one, the extraordinary Angelo Villari, fearless and unstoppable! And they also found a delectable Maria, the heroine, in Mariangela Sicilia.
So we were treated to an evening of insane Gothic verismo - a vintage Wexford evening of exuberant Italian grand opera. Irresistible! And as it happened rather a good idea for Halloween - many of the audience were dressed appropriately - only in Ireland!!
The somewhat more peaceful prelude to all this was a walk on Curracloe beach - perfect preparation for the stresses of the last evening in Wexford, still unmatched for the courage and curiosity it has displayed over the years.
I will be back in boring sane London this evening!