Summer is almost upon us, and in three weeks we bring Opera to our small corner of Ireland once again (for tickets click here). We’ve selected what we believe to be the top opera festivals from around Europe to visit in 2018. France to Italy and England we’ve selected festivals of the absolute highest quality.
5) Festival d’Aix-en-Provence
To begin with we couldn’t ignore The Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence. The festival occurs in and around Aix (near Marseille) each summer. The festival runs throughout July. Although primarily an opera festival it also includes concerts and recitals of a classical nature. Festival d’Aix-en-Provence is a great excuse to head to the south of France in the Summer!
In 2018 the festival celebrates its 70th anniversary, and has a world class program. We have to say that staying fresh and exciting after 70 years of production is something truly remarkable.
4) Wexford Festival Opera
We couldn’t ignore our neighbours down the road. Wexdford Opera Festival, an Irish festival has been voted the world’s best international opera festival! If you’ve not heard of this gem, it that takes place in the town of Wexford during the months of October and November each year.
The festival began in 1951 and quickly generated considerable interest by programming unusual and rare works. This concept has been maintained over the company’s history under the direction of seven different artistic directors. From the beginning, Wexford embraced new and upcoming young singers. 2018’s program highlight has to be the European Debut of William Balcom’s Dinner at Eight.
3) Festival Puccini
Held in July and August – Festival Puccini is rare in that it only presents operas by the famous Italian composer Giacomo Puccini.
Located in Torre del Lago Italy. Festival Puccini is just 11 miles from Pisa and close to the Tyrrhenian Sea. The festival has the most beautiful all of all settings. The events are just a small walk from the villa where Puccini lived, worked and is buried.
Festival Puccini shows up to 9 performances each season and attracts around 40,000 visitors to the incredible open air theatre named Teatro dei Quattromila. 2018 highlights include Tosca, Madama Butterfly and La Bohème.
2) The Grange Festival
This festival runs between 7th of June and 8th July in the stunning Hampshire countryside. Not since Thomas Beecham created his own international opera company in 1916 has a new UK opera festival of such scale and ambition been born.
In 2018 Grange Festival returns with an even more impressive program. The Abduction from Seraglio, Agrippina and one of operas greatest masterpieces of comedy The Barber of Seville. If you needed another reason to attend this incredible festival, it has to be the fact that Michael Chance is artistic director. For more than thirty years, Michael Chance has established an international reputation as performer, teacher and director across a broad spectrum of opera, recital, oratorio and recordings.
1) Blackwater Valley Opera Festival
The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival – Ireland’s most beautiful summer music festival and our own personal contribution to the list. In 2018 we present Opera at Lismore Castle and music in some of the most impressive houses of the Blackwater Valley. This years festival runs from May 20th to June 3rd 2018. 2018’s program presents Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri. The Recitals Series bring music to the Great Houses of the Blackwater Valley. Enjoy wonderful gardens, and historic homes while listening to world class music. tickets are available here.