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Tour Director

  • Attend a variety of operatic performances at Wexford’s stunning National Opera House, including Mascagni’s comic opera Le Maschere on the festival’s opening night

  • Further highlights include Stanford’s The Critic in the 100th anniversary year of the composer’s death, and Donizetti’s Le convenienze e inconvenienze teatrali

  • Enjoy fascinating excursions to Johnstown Castle, Enniscorthy and Huntington Castle

“Donald’s knowledge, his sense of humour and his connections with the opera world, which allowed us to get an insight into the Wexford Festival, were invaluable”

- ACE customer on a previous Wexford Opera Festival tour led by Donald Maxwell

Nestling amidst the medieval streets of old Wexford, Ireland’s most impressive music venue – the National Opera House – celebrates a superb annual festival of opera with an impressive range of music and performers. 


Since the first annual festival of music and the arts took place in 1951, Wexford Opera Festival has grown into one of the leading operatic events of the year and draws audiences from all over the world to enjoy often-neglected works and forgotten masterpieces. The festival is particularly well known for introducing up-and-coming stars, conductors and directors, and is a wonderful opportunity to discover music and productions that offer something very different from other opera festivals. 


Wexford’s diverse musical offerings form the heart of our tour, and we are particularly delighted to be attending the festival’s opening night, which will feature Pietro Mascagni’s comic opera Le Maschere (The Masks) conducted by WFO Principal Guest Conductor Francesco Cilluffo. The opera tells the story of a commedia dell’arte troupe and their impresario, and was created as an homage to Rossini.


We are pleased to be featuring all three of the festival’s mainstage evening operas during the course of our tour, each of which contributes to the 2024 festival’s overarching theme: ‘Theatre within Theatre’. We will take our seats for a modern premiere of Charles Villiers Stanford’s The Critic, a satirical opera based on a 1779 play by Sheridan. The story is set during the rehearsal of a new opera, and will be a particularly timely production this autumn as audiences commemorate the 100th anniversary of Stanford’s death in 2024. 


Our tour continues with Donizetti’s sparkling opera buffa Le convenienze e inconvenienze teatrali (‘Viva La Diva’), the storyline featuring “a regional opera troupe rehearsing their production with their leading lady (played by a baritone) behaving like a prima donna”. 


We also look forward to two daytime ‘Pocket Operas’, each a new festival commission. The first, entitled Puccini: Man of the Theatre, was created by Grammy-nominated classical singer, writer and theatre producer Niall William Morris. The second sees Colm Tóibín and Alberto Caruso reunite following the success of their previous collaboration, and the resultant comedic opera, Lady Gregory in America, follows the story of revolutionary Irish women in the USA.


The operas will be introduced in a lively and engaging style by our Tour Director during dedicated morning lectures. 


In addition to the musical events, we will have the opportunity to explore some of Ireland’s leading architectural and historical treasures. 19th century Johnstown Castle Estate has undergone extensive conservation works in recent years, whilst the fascinating Huntington Castle in Clonegal was built in the 17th century as a ‘plantation castle’ and later captured by Oliver Cromwell. We will also spend some time in Enniscorthy, visiting the 1798 Rebellion Centre. 


Our base will be the four-star Clayton Whites Hotel, a comfortable modern establishment conveniently located in the heart of Wexford, a few minutes’ walk from the National Opera House. We will stay in the hotel’s superior rooms, which have recently been renovated.

Our Tour Director Donald Maxwell is a professional operatic baritone, director and lecturer. Having started his career with Scottish Opera before becoming principal baritone with the Welsh National Opera, Donald is now a freelance singer and performs with opera companies worldwide, including at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala Milan and the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

Tour Code

Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a superior twin or double bedded room, performances as described, four breakfasts, four dinners with a glass of wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, superior double room for single use supplement £250.

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