Rosetta Cucchi, the artistic director of the Wexford Festival Opera, previews this year's festival, which runs from 20th October to 1st November.

Today I want to tell you what Wexford and its festival are to me.

In these dark days, where we are all locked in our homes, where the hugs seem a distant memory, I visualise all the closing nights of our festival, when the public and the artists join together to cross their arms and take each other's hands singing Auld Lang Syne, a song that tells we will meet again and again.

The opportunity to meet, the wealth of human and cultural exchanges, the place where magic happens, all of this is opera, all of this is the Wexford Festival for me. 

Performers make a curtain call on the Wexford stage

Lucio Dalla, in his famous song, Caruso, said "Power of opera, where every drama is a fake…..".

But through "fake" you can see the truth and theatre is the greatest expression of that truth in which the human being veers towards.

This year I want to dedicate the festival to a poet who knew a lot about theatre, William Shakespeare, a giant of literature from all eras.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

The poet, who more than any other, wrote about the feelings that surrounded the world of opera: from the tragic love of Romeo and Juliet to the jealousy of Othello, from the madness of Ophelia to the magical world of Puck or Prospero; allowing composers from the last three centuries to draw inspiration from his works as well as from the Bard himself.

Thus, the three operas for this year’s festival were born.

Where the magic happens - the legendary Wexford auditorium

Wexford's old quote was "One for the heart, one for the head and one for the funny-bone".  

My new approach would be having a story by, a story about and a story like...

Ein Wintermärchen, a romantic opera by Karl Goldmark, comes directly from A Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare.

Le Songe d’une nuit d’ètè, a sweet opera-comique by Ambroise Thomas is a story about a young Shakespeare and some of the main characters of his future plays.

Edmea, by Antonio Catalani, is a wonderful tale about madness and jealousy and is quite like Shakespeare’s tragic character, Ophelia.

But the Shakespearean theme is not only in our three main operas. This year, he will be in every pocket opera, in every pop-up community event throughout Wexford town and above all he will serve as the godfather of the new Wexford Factory, the academy for young singers, which will take place for the first time this September.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Some days ago at home, as usual I was trying to think about good memories from the past,  the first academy I attended after my Conservatory degree popped up in my mind. 

It was in Imola with two great pianists, Alexander Lonquich and Jörg Demus. What a wonderful time it was; a huge growing experience as a human being and as an artist.

The possibility to meet other musicians from everywhere in the world, the exchange of experiences and the great fun we had were the perfect ingredients to drive me into the professional opera world.

Rosetta Cucchi: 'The opportunity to meet, the wealth of human and cultural exchanges,
the place where magic happens, all of this is opera...' 

These are the reasons why the festival in Wexford has the duty and the right to establish an educational programme such as the Wexford Factory, because any international company of the performing arts must help the younger generation to grow and thrive as artists.

The name of this new academy is clearly quoting Andy Warhol and his legendary Factory. Why?

Because my dream is to create a place where the arts can grow up, and where the artist will have the freedom to shape their professional careers. 

The Wexford Opera Festival takes place from 20th October to 1st November - tickets are now on sale here.