(Sunday, 22 February, 2015)Silent Night by American composer Kevin Puts, last year’s critically acclaimed opera set against the backdrop of WWI, proved to be both the people’s and the judges’ favourite at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards, as the Wexford production was awarded two accolades, including Best Opera Production and the inaugural An Post Irish Stamps Audience Choice Prize, in a Gala Ceremony at the National Concert Hall, Dublin this evening. A total of seventeen productions, predominately theatre, were nominated in this public category, with Silent Night being one of only two operas eligible for the award. For the public to vote an opera their favourite production of last year, is an encouraging development for Irish opera in general and Wexford Opera in particular.
This brings the total of ten wins for Wexford Festival since the awards were founded in 1997 and the first time audiences were given a say in what they thought was the ‘Best Irish theatre production’ of 2014.
Artistic Director of Wexford Festival Opera, David Agler accepted the award on behalf of conductor, Michael Christie and director, Tomer Zvulun. Speaking to Ireland’s opera and theatre community, David said, “I wish to thank the Irish Times for their dedicated support for the arts and, in particular, for opera. Opera is merely theatre on an epic scale and Wexford is extremely grateful to have this recognised by opera’s inclusion in these prestigious awards.”
He added, “Silent Night was a very special opera, not only artistically, but because of its subject matter and its significance in our collective history. It is clear from this award tonight that our audiences were truly moved by the production and I wish to thank all of those who came to Silent Night and who voted for it. It proved challenging to realize such a large and complicated opera and this would simply have not been possible without the generous support from the Arts Council.”
The Pulitzer Prize-winning opera received its European premiere at last year’s Festival in Wexford in recognition of the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War. Silent Night is based on the 2005 film Joyeux Noël, about the spontaneous 1914 Christmas truce between enemy combatants in the First World War. At its core is the powerful message that war is not sustainable when you come to know your enemy as a person.
Meanwhile, the organisation has its sights set on the forthcoming Festival as priority booking for Friends of Wexford Festival Opera opens this coming Saturday, 28 February at 9.30 a.m.
To avail of one month’s priority booking and to ensure the best selection of tickets, plus many other benefits, become a Friend of Wexford Festival Opera – visit www.wexfordopera.com/friends/ General Booking opens on Saturday, 28 March. The 64th Wexford Festival Opera runs from Wednesday, 21 October to Sunday, 1 November, 2015.
The 64th Wexford Festival Opera is grant-aided by the Arts Council, Fáilte Ireland and Wexford County Council.
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