Backstage at the Wexford Opera Festival with mezzo-soprano Bernadette Greevy who is appearing in 'Orlando'.

Wexford Festival Opera was founded in 1951 with the intention of bringing lesser-known operas to opera-lovers from all over the world.

Wexford is a different breed of opera festival, and does not suffer the formalities Glyndebourne or the other grand centres of opera. RTÉ reporter Michael Ryan takes a peek behind the scenes at the preparations for the opening night of G.F.Handel’s opera ‘Orlando’.

He goes backstage to mezzo-soprano Bernadette Greevy’s dressing room and interviews her about her role as Medoro. Unusually Greevy is playing a “trouser role” and she has been getting tips from her male colleagues on how to be a man. Before she goes on stage, she takes delivery of a large number of floral bouquets, including the customary red roses from her husband.

With the ultimate test of the first night behind them, the cast are filled with a mixture of relief and euphoria. After her performance Greevy is too excited to be tired. The show was a success although she concedes

There were parts where we felt we needed a reaction and we didn’t get it I’m afraid.

An ‘Ireland’s Eye’ report by Michael Ryan broadcast on 29 October 1980.