Wexford Festival Opera: Women and war will dominate themes as 2023 season is announced

The program for the 72nd Wexford Festival Opera has been announced by Artistic Director Rosetta Cucchi. Centered on the theme of women and war, the three main operas were confirmed in Zoraida di Granata by G. Donizetti 1822; Red Dawn by Camille Erlanger 1911; La Ciociara by Marco Tutino 2015.

he theme of the festival, Women and War, has been developed by Rosetta Cucchi over the years and is as relevant today as it was when these operas were written. Each work chosen highlights a different aspect of the struggles women face; in wars, fighting prejudice and making women’s voices heard.

Zoraida di Granata by G. Donizetti 1822

A modern premiere, Zoraida di Granata follows the experience of a woman drawn into war against her will, in a battle to save her love. Irish soprano Claudia Boyle will perform the title role.

Donizetti wrote two versions of this opera, one in 1822 and the second in 1824, (the only extant recording of Opera Rara’s Zoraida di Granata (1990) gives an idea of ​​both versions). Zoraida di Granata will be presented in coproduction with the Donizetti Festival in Bergamo, which plans to stage the 1824 version of the work in 2024.

Red Dawn by Camille Erlanger 1911

A respected composer during his lifetime, Camille Erlanger was laureate of the Prix de Rome and a pupil of Léo Delibes. Over time, however, his work has been overlooked.

This tragic opera follows the story of Olga, who struggles to save her nihilistic and blinded partner, Serge, who believes that change only comes through violence. Their inevitable fate is played out on a beautifully nuanced score.

La Ciociara (Two Women) by Marco Tutino 2015

Created in 2015, La Ciociara was originally commissioned by the San Francisco Opera, based on real events at the end of World War II. The orchestration will be revised for the Wexford Festival by composer Marco Tutino. The 72nd Wexford Festival Opera will be the first time the new version has been professionally performed.

Based on a novel by Alberto Moravia, the film version titled La Ciociara (1960), directed by the famous Italian director Vittorio De Sica, starred Sophia Loren. The public will have the chance to see a screening of the film as part of WFO 2023.

A contemporary opera illustrating the devastating impact of the end of World War II in Italy, La Ciociara follows a mother trying to shield and shield her daughter from the horrors of war in the aftermath of the Battle of Monte Cassino.


Italiana in Algeri by Rossini 1813

The 4th edition of the Wexford Factory will begin in September 2023, when this year’s Factory singers and repeaters enter their second year of this professional development academy. The brainchild of Rosetta Cucchi, the Wexford Factory nurtures young Irish/Ireland-based artists. The Factory will once again be sponsored by PwC. Factory artists will perform Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri at WFO 2023.

In this popular opera L’italiana in Algeri, a strong woman outsmarts her captor with her intelligence and charm.


Both pocket operas in 2023 continue the theme of women and war. As part of the Festival’s commitment to nurturing a new generation of creative artists, WFO invites applications from young directors and set designers. Two directors and a set designer (who are Irish/Ireland-based) will be chosen to develop innovative stage concepts for the two pocket operas. https://www.wexfordopera.com/learningandengagement/competition-for-stage-directors

– The Daughter of the Regiment by Gaetano Donizetti 1840

This popular comic opera follows the story of an orphan girl “adopted” by a regiment of soldiers.

-Suor Angelica by Giacomo Puccini 1918

Puccini’s beautiful score recounts a woman’s ultimate sacrifice when caught in circumstances forced upon her by her family and society.

Community opera

Wexford Festival Opera was founded by local volunteers and even today the local community is hugely involved in many aspects of the festival. In 2023, the Festival will present a community promenade opera where non-professionals from the region will have the chance to work and perform with professional artists. Full details and how to apply to be part of it will be announced in the coming months.

Artist in residence

WFO is delighted to announce that Conor Mitchell will return to Wexford in 2023 for his second year as Artist in Residence. This will include the presentation of a newly commissioned chamber piece.

Choral concert

Continuing the collaboration that began earlier this year when they performed as part of the WFO Stabat Mater concert at the NCH, the New Dublin Voices will take part in a special choral concert at the Festival.

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