The catalyst for our annual fall visits to Ireland is the exhilarating Wexford Festival Opera. Our Tour members have been unanimous in their praise of the new Wexford Opera House, which opened in 2008. This widely heralded event earned a number of prestigious awards – including the Royal Institute of British Architects European Award, the Irish Times Theatre Award, the Bank of Ireland’s foremost Architecture Award, and the ‘Best Cultural Building Award’ of Ireland’s Royal Institute of Architects. Now we are strongly encouraging opera enthusiasts to discover the astonishing acoustic, the comfortable seats (in marked contrast to the restricted leg room of the ‘old house’), and the aesthetic design of this intimate jewel of an opera house. The discerning Wall Street Journal’s review of last season dubbed Wexford’s festival “one of Ireland’s greatest cultural destinations” and “one of Europe’s key international music events”.

For the 2018 season, Artistic Director David Agler has announced a trio of productions which reflect the Wexford tradition of staging operatic rarities. Opera ‘aficionados’ are accustomed to traveling to this Festival for the thrill of adventurous repertoire rather than another ‘Boheme’, ‘Traviata’ or ‘Carmen’. In chronological order, the operas will be Saverio Mercadante’s Italian melodrama Il Bravo (based on a James Fenimore Cooper novel and first performed at La Scala in 1839); a ‘verismo’ double-bill of Umberto Giordano’s Mala Vita (Rome, 1892) paired with Franco Leoni’s L’Oracolo (Covent Garden, 1905); and the European premiere of William Bolcom’s witty comedy, Dinner at Eight, premiered only last year by the Minnesota Opera.  

The Wexford Festival has achieved the deserved reputation of being Ireland’s most prestigious musical event. Set in the small and hospitable fishing village of Wexford on the southeast coast of Ireland, the Festival has specialized in offering three imaginative new productions every fall since l95l. The noted British writer Bernard Levin chose Wexford as his favorite European Festival in his Conducted Tour, reflecting the combination of the luxuriant Irish countryside, the welcoming attitudes of the open-hearted local population and everyone connected with the Festival, and the high standards of operatic presentations.

We will attend all three of the 2018 new productions as well as two Lunchtime Recitals showcasing the Festival’s young operatic talents. These Recitals add an intimate element to the Festival and are held in Wexford’s St. Iberius Church in the center of town. All of our tickets are confirmed.

Our emphasis in Wexford is on the Festival’s busy program and on relaxed dining in the area’s inviting coastal restaurants, rather than on museums and other institutions. An excursion to a nearby seafood restaurant in an unspoiled village has always added immeasurably to the informal camaraderie which continues to attract opera-lovers to our Irish Tours.

Immediately after Wexford, we will move to the capital of Dublin for three nights at the Irish Buswells Hotel, a remodeled grouping of Georgian townhouses. Dublin itself is a Georgian architectural gem, characterized by expansive parks and squares and known throughout the world for its multi-colored doors and decorative facades. Our performances in Dublin will concentrate on the great tradition of Irish theatre. Programs are not yet available, but we expect to enjoy a pair of evenings encompassing both the Abbey and Gate Theatres, whose companies and repertoire rank with the finest in the English-speaking world. We have been fortunate to enjoy riveting live performances at the Abbey and the Gate during all of our recent Irish Tours. 

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Prices Per Person (Air Fare not Included)

Double Occupancy: $5,270
Single Occupancy: $5,850