“Are you prepared to slay a mighty dragon, rescue a fair young maid from a harem, bake an Italian cake and take a tilt at windmills? Then you’re ready for Wexford Festival Opera 2019”.

Assume the answer is “yes”. So says Ian Fox, on an introductory CD accompanying this year’s Festival Programme. Mr. Fox is a doyen amongst critics. He wrote his first criticism for the Irish Times in 1969. A member of the “London Critics Circle”, editor of the Irish classical music magazine, Counterpoint, a governor of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (blimey, the paradoxical, republican Irish still hang on to the “Royal” moniker, dating back to 1848) and Council member of the Wexford Festival. He knows his Wexford.

In comparison, Reaction’s humble scribe (your own) is but a member of the less challenging, but much more riotously inclined,  “Flaneurs’ Forum”; and a common or garden Wexford trekkie since 1977. So, bear with me as I clumsily share Ian Fox’s euphoria. It’s always a bright spot in the year when Wexford Festival Opera’s programme plonks onto the doormat. 2019 looks like being a vintage year.