The Wexford Opera Festival opens a 25th season offering a wide variety of musical and sporting events.

From its launch in 1951, Wexford has built a reputation of being one of Europe's leading opera festivals. Since then festival costs have grown from £3,000 to £80,000. Much of the work is undertaken by volunteers.

Mike Donohue, a district court judge from Massachusetts in the United States of America is volunteering as a stage hand. He explains that among opera fans abroad the Wexford Opera Festival is highly regarded.

The quality of the workmanship and the singing and the music and the stage, the settings is superb and outstanding, it enjoys a high fine reputation.

The programme for Wexford Opera Festival's 25th season includes three opera, chamber music a choral concert and a wide variety of sporting events.

The official opening is performed by President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh after a parade of bands through the town. The Theatre Royal is thronged for the gala performance of a little known work by Giuseppe Verdi, his sixth opera, 'Giovanna D'Arco’ (‘Joan of Arc’).

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 October 1976. The reporter is Michael Walsh.