PwC continues sponsorship of Wexford Factory with Wexford Festival Opera 2023.

01 August, 2023

  • Supporting 16 artists giving them ‘wings to fly’ in their careers

  • Wexford Factory, Wexford Festival Opera’s Academy for young Irish and Irish based singers

Opera singers Ami Hewitt and Maria Hughes performed at a cultural event in PwC’s Spencer Dock offices marking the continuation of PwC’s sponsorship of Wexford Factory with Wexford Festival Opera. Artists Maria and Ami have both been supported by the partnership between the Festival and PwC, and Ami is a current member of Wexford Factory. Wexford Factory is a professional academy for young Irish / Irish-based singers, which is now in its fourth year. The Factory, supported by PwC, is designed to mentor young singers through masterclasses led by internationally recognised artists and professionals. The 2023 Wexford Factory will commence prior to the beginning of rehearsals for this year’s Festival.

PwC is delighted to continue its sponsorship of Wexford Factory as part of their two-year partnership covering the 2022 / 2023 term. PwC has been a long-time supporter of Wexford Festival Opera, expanding the partnership to sponsor Wexford Factory in 2020. This partnership showcases the firm’s support of the Arts & Culture sector and their commitment to projects which make a valuable impact to our society.

The 2023 Wexford Factory Artists are: Deirdre Arratoon, Michael Bell, Eoin Foran, Ami Hewitt, Emily Hogarty, Corina Ignat, Paolo Jaho, William Kyle, Peter Lidbetter, Sarah Luttrell, Víctor Simón Jiménez Moral, Aoife Moran, Hannah O’Brien, Marta Pluda, Leah Redmond and Rebecca Warren.

Nurturing artists and showcasing the talents of young singers has long been a cornerstone of Wexford Festival Opera. Many of today's world leading Opera artists performed in Wexford early on in their careers. The dedication, sacrifice and hard work which are key for a career in opera are also those that are needed to succeed in business.  PwC has supported the Wexford Festival Opera since 2015 and has been steadfast in their support of emerging future leaders in the worlds of art, sport, and business.

The 2022 / 2023 Factory participants have been embarking on a 2-year journey with Wexford Festival Opera, which has seen them take part in a professional development academy last September, as well as perform in the 2022 Festival, taking part in international exchanges and perform at many Festival events throughout 2022 and the beginning of 2023. Wexford Factory artists will return to the Festival in September to take part in their second Wexford Factory term.

Speaking of the Factory and PwC partnership WFO Executive Director Randall Shannon said “PwC has been a valued supporter of Wexford Festival Opera for many years. Their commitment to providing platforms to young emerging artists has been central to this partnership throughout and we are delighted to mark our 2023 partnership at this special event in the PwC offices.”

Speaking about the sponsorship, Jean Delaney, Partner, PwC, said: “Enabling diverse young talent to reach their potential is a priority at PwC. Our support of this important professional development academy at the Wexford Factory is a perfect fit with our brand. We wish all of the artists great success for the 2023 programme and in their future careers.”

Speaking of her reasons for developing the Wexford Factory, WFO Artistic Director, Rosetta Cucchi, said “The best memories of my life are associated with the academies I attended in my youth. That is where I learned the true meaning of professionalism and how I could continue to challenge myself as an artist. This is the reason I decided to establish the Wexford Factory.  It is the duty of every highly regarded international festival such as Wexford to give a new generation of artists the opportunity to grow; giving them wings to fly in their careers.”


Pictured at a cultural event in the PwC offices in celebration of their continued sponsorship of Wexford Factory, Wexford Festival Opera's academy for young Irish and Irish based artists.

Pictured at a cultural event in the PwC offices in celebration of their continued sponsorship of Wexford Factory, Wexford Festival Opera's academy for young Irish and Irish based artists, are (l-r) Randall Shannon, Executive Director, Wexford Festival Opera; James McNally, Partner, PwC and Ami Hewitt, Wexford Factory Artist

Notes to editors

Wexford Factory Artists will perform in a main staged production of L’Italiana in Algeri by Gioachino Rossini this October in the National Opera House during the Festival.

Wexford Factory is an international collaboration, with TUD (Technological University Dublin), RIAM (Royal Irish Academy of Music) and the Rossini Opera Festival “Alberto Zedda” Academy, Pesaro.

Public Booking is now open for the 72nd Wexford Festival Opera which will run for 13 wonderful days and nights from 24 October – 5 November 2022. The festival is once again looking forward to welcoming audiences to experience for themselves the magic of Wexford Festival Opera in the stunning National Opera House this Autumn. 

Artistic Director Rosetta Cucchi’s 2023 programme is built around the theme of Women & War and will feature three main stage operas, Zoraida Di Granata, L’Aube Rouge and La Ciociara. Further events include two pocket operas, the Wexford Factory opera, 11 lunchtime recitals, an immersive community opera - a first for WFO, a choral recital with New Dublin Voices, the annual gala concert of festival favourites, film screenings, an impossible interview, the Dr Tom Walsh lecture which asks Are Women Peacemakers?, a myriad of joyous free pop-up events all around the town and an exuberant opening night.

About the artists: 

Deirdre Arratoon  

Rising Irish Mezzo-Soprano Deirdre Arratoon is known for her voice that is “rich, velvety and full of expression”. Deirdre regularly performs in both the UK and Ireland. She began her studies in Ireland before studying full-time at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as a postgraduate student. Prizes won during her studies include the Ashleyan Opera Prize and the Cecil Drew Oratoio prize.

After her studies in Birmingham, Deirdre joined Glyndebourne Opera chorus for their 2017 festival and tour. Deirdre was delighted to make her main stage debut at Wexford Festival Opera 2022 as Fairy in Alma Deutscher’s Cinderella. Another highlight of 2022 was performing the mezzo-soprano solos in Verdi’s Requiem at Arundel Cathedral, West Sussex.

Deirdre has had an exciting year of performances scheduled for 2023. Roles include contracts with Opera Southeast, UK singing the title role in Bizet’s Carmen in April, The Grange Festival as chorus and cover role of Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Opera Collective Ireland, as Older Woman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight which was performed in Galway, Dublin and Cork.

Michael Bell 

Northern Irish Tenor Michael Bell is a recent graduate of the Royal College of Music and the University of Cambridge. Michael has already appeared with major companies in the UK and Ireland, including Irish National Opera, Garsington Opera and Wexford Festival Opera. He has also recently performed with the Lithuanian State Orchestra, the Royal Swedish Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Royal Northern Sinfonia.

This season Michael returns to INO and Garsington and makes his debut with Waterperry Opera. He will give a recital of Irish songs in NI Opera’s Salon Series, sing the role of St John in Elgar’s the Apostles for the final night of the Three Choirs Festival and give recitals at the Wigmore Hall in London and the Salle Cortot in Paris.

 Michael is a Samling Artist, a member of the Wigmore Hall French Song Exchange and a Musician’s Company Young Artist.

Eoin Foran

Baritone Eoin Foran graduated from the Royal Conservatoire Scotland master’s degree in performance, under the guidance of Scott Johnson in 2022. A first-class Honours graduate of TU Dublin, Eoin studied with tenor Emmanuel Lawler.

To date, Eoin has been a soloist on both the operatic and concert platform, in Ireland and the United Kingdom. Recent competition highlights include winner of the 2020 TU Dublin Gold Medal Recital Award, and second prize Royal Conservatoire Scotland Lieder competition 2021. Eoin sang with RCS Alexander Gibson Opera Studio in March 2022, playing the role of Immigration Officer in Jonathan Doves Flight. In Summer 2022 he also looks forward to singing with British Youth Opera in Vaughan Williams Sir John in Love and Duchy Opera companies' production of The Gondoliers' where he will sing the role of Giuseppe Palmieri.

Ami Hewitt

As a member of The Wexford Factory’ last year Ami sang the role of Stepmother in Alma Deutscher’s ‘Cinderella’, and The Actress in the premier of Conor Mitchell’s short work ‘Les Selinites’. She also gave a solo recital in St. Iberius church as part of the festival.

 As an ABL aviation studio artist with Irish National Opera during the 21/22 season, Ami has enjoyed understudying the roles of Frasquita (Carmen), Idaspe (Bajazet), and Marzelline (Fidelio), as well as giving a number of concert performances.

Ami was a finalist in inaugural Dutch televised competition 'Aria', which aired on Npo1 in 2021. The Competition was in association with Dutch National Opera with the National youth Orchestra conducted by Leonard Evers.

Emily Hogarty

Emily Hogarty is a mezzo-soprano based in Dublin. She graduated from the TU Dublin Conservatoire and Trinity College Dublin in 2021 with a first-class honours in Music Education, under the tutelage of Mairéad Buicke and Aoife O’Sullivan.

Last year at WFO, Emily played the role of ‘Zibaldona’ in Alma Deutscher’s Cinderella and ‘The Student’ in the world premiere of Conor Mitchell’s Les Selenites. She has since made her role debut as ‘Fanny Price’ in the Irish premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park. She will be playing ‘Lady in Waiting’ in Macbeth at Blackwater Valley Opera Festival this June.

Other notable performances include ‘Dorabella’ with Vienna Opera Festival and chorus for Maria Stuarda with INO. She was also a featured soloist with Trinity Orchestra where she performed all over Ireland, including the National Concert Hall. Emily has also directed Chicago by Kander and Ebb which premiered in the O’Reilly Theatre in 2019.

Corina Ignat

Born in Romania, soprano Corina Ignat completed her master's and bachelor's degrees in Music Performance at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Her operatic roles include Stepmother in Wexford Festival Factory's production of Cinderella, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Lyric Opera Productions, Clorinda cover in La Cenerentola with Irish National Opera, the Cousin in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly with Lyric Opera Productions, Arminda in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera and Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Samuel Beckett Theatre.

She performed in the chorus with Glyndebourne, INO and Wexford Festival Opera. She performed several concerts such as "Rising Stars" at Limerick University Concert Hall and soprano solos at the NCH with the Goethe Institute Choir.

Corina has won several prizes including First Prize in the Irené Sandford Competition for Singers and the Geoghegan Cup in the Feis Ceoil 2018.

Paola Jaho

Born in 1998 in Tirana, Albania; Paola Jaho started her piano studies at the young age of 5, pursuing her bachelor and master’s degree in Piano Performance, at the Conservatory of Florence L. Cherubini in Italy, and at the Royal Conservatory of Music of Madrid.

Over the years she participated in different competitions in Europe, where she won prestigious awards. Paola has performed in recitals of chamber music and Dùos piano-voice, to important events (as a soloist as well) in: Albania, Italy - where she first debuted as a repetiteur in small festivals in Florence, Germany, Macedonia, United Kingdom, Spain, etc;

Paola debuted in various prestigious theatres such as the Teatro Real of Madrid for the Grand Gala of 2021, where she also worked as a pianist repetiteur for the second edition of ‘’Crescendo’’ working with singers from Europe and S.America. Afterwards in 2022, Paola debuted at the Philarmonija of Macedonia and at the Castell de Peralada Festival as an accompanist for the soprano Ermonela Jaho. She returned at the Teatro Real of Madrid, as a repetiteur for the production “Fantasma que canta no espanta”, as well as for the Gala Premios Fundación Asseco 2022.

Participated at the International AMAO Duo Piano-Voice (W. Soprano Jessica Bogado) winning third place and performed as an opening act at the inauguration of the 36 edition of Semana de Cine MDC (Soloist + W. Soprano Javiera Saavedra). She is also an inspiring vocal coach, after pursuing singing for 5 to 6 years.

William Kyle

William Kyle is a baritone originally from Warwickshire, UK. He is a 2023 Nevill Holt Opera Associate Artist and will perform the role of Ser Amantio di Nicolao in their production of Gianni Schicchi. He has also performed as Page in British Youth Opera’s production of Sir John in Love and this year joined the Merry Opera Company for their touring production entitled Cinderella 23.

William is a recent graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, where he performed roles including Il Conte in Le nozze di Figaro, Ein Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos and Harašta in The Cunning Little Vixen.

Later this year William will be a young artist for the Rossini Opera Festival, performing in their production of Il viaggio a Reims and then will be part of the Wexford Festival young artist production of L’Italiana in Algeri.

Peter Lidbetter

Peter Lidbetter is a British/Irish lyric bass from London. He performs with Bergen Nasjonale Opera and the Edvard Grieg Kor in Norway under Edward Gardner and Garsington Festival Opera, Opera Holland Park and Buxton Festival Opera among others in the UK.

Peter holds an MMus and PGdip in vocal performance from the Royal Northern College of Music (both with distinction), where he won the Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Award for graduating singers and the Brigitte Fassbaender Award for Lieder and was a finalist in the Gold-Medal competition for all students. He was part of the Wexford Festival Opera Chorus in 2021 and sang the role of King Fridolph in Cinderella in 2022.

Peter studied music at the University of Cambridge and was a choral scholar and, later, lay-clerk at St John’s College. His teacher is Nicholas Powell.

Sarah Luttrell

Irish mezzo-soprano Sarah Luttrell is an honours graduate of the TUDublin Conservatoire and is currently a Masters student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where she is the recipient of the 'RCS Trust Postgraduate Scholarship'. Sarah has performed with Irish National Opera, Lyric Opera, Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and Northern Ireland Opera. She has sung various roles in Opera Scene Concerts, most recently as Sesto in Handel's Giulio Cesare and Idamante in Mozart's Idomeneo.

Sarah is a multi-award winner of the ESB Feis Ceoil where she was most recently awarded the Mrs. J.P Geoghegan Memorial Cup. In 2021, Sarah won first prize in the Alto Cup and The Margaret Burke-Sheridan. At the Birr Festival of Music's 'Trench Awards', she was awarded the Canto al Serchio prize for voice. In 2020 she was selected as a finalist for the 'Charles Wood Song Competition' and Northern Ireland Opera’s 'Glenarm Festival of Voice'.

Víctor Simón Jiménez Moral

Víctor Simón Jiménez Moral began his music and singing studies at the age of 17 at the Municipal School of Valdemoro (Madrid) as a light-lyrical tenor with the singing teacher Laura Lavilla. Later he accessed to the Escuela Superior de Canto de Madrid in 2019 with the singing teacher Judith Pezoa and the repertoire teacher Elías Romero.

In 2021, Víctor participated as a solo tenor in the performance of Mozart's Solemn Vespers in the Escorial Cathedral (Madrid).  In March 2022 he has debuted the role of Edoardo Milfort in the opera "La cambiale di matrimonio" at the Joaquín Rodrigo de las Rozas auditorium. That same year he was selected to attend the "Accademia rossiniana Alberto Zedda" and the production of Rossini's "Il viaggio a Reims" in the roles of Don Luigino and Cavaliere Belfiore, receiving a masterclass from maestros Ernesto Palacio and Rubén Sanchez.

In November 2022 he was invited to the "Royal Opera House of Muscat" in collaboration with the "Rossini Opera Festival" as a cover of the role of Edoardo Milfort from the opera "La cambiale de matrimonio" and to perform a concert of Rosinian repertoire.

Víctor is currently finishing his studies at the Escuela Superior de Canto de Madrid. He also received a masterclass from the soprano Yolanda Auyanet, from the baritone Christopher Robertson. His repertoire has been based on the bel canto repertoire of composers such as: Donizetti, Rossini and Mozart's repertoire, as well as some pieces from Lieder, melodie, Spanish song, Zarzuela and Oratorio.

Aoife Moran

Aoife is an Irish pianist currently studying on the Repetiteur course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she previously obtained a Master’s degree in piano accompaniment. As a student on the repetiteur course, Aoife has worked on operas including Kurt Weill’s Der Zar lässt sich photographieren, Judith Weir’s Miss Fortune, and Menotti’s The Telephone. In August 2022, Aoife will be working with British Youth Opera’s production of Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love.

She graduated from the TU Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama (formerly DIT) in 2019 with a Bachelor of Music degree, where she studied with Catherina Lemoni-O’Doherty. She has performed as a soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician in venues in Ireland, the UK and Switzerland. Aoife has been awarded many prizes both as a solo pianist and accompanist, in music festivals in Ireland including Feis Ceoil and Sligo Feis Ceoil, amongst others.

Hannah O’Brien

Irish soprano Hannah O’Brien currently studies with Elizabeth Ritchie, having recently completed a Postgraduate Diploma at the Royal Northern College of Music. She previously studied at The Royal Irish Academy of Music. This year, Hannah will sing Pamina (The Magic Flute by Mozart) for Clonter Opera and is excited for her second season as a Wexford Factory Artist and to perform as Elvira (L'italiana in Algeri by Rossini), Nella (Gianni Schicchi by Puccini), and Tatiana (L’Aube rouge by Camille Erlanger). In May, Hannah gave a recital for the Italian Institute of Culture, Dublin in conjunction with WFO.

Previous operatic roles include Mary Crawford (Mansfield Park by Dove), Griselda (Cinderella by Deutscher), Polly in Kevin O’Connell’s Dreamcatchr (film adaptation), Il Destino/Linfea (La Calisto by Cavalli), and Nance Farrell (Banished by Stephen McNeff). In competition success, Hannah recently reached the final rounds of the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, was awarded the Song Prize at the Glenarm Festival of Voice 2022, and placed 2nd in the Dramatic Cup and Lieder Prize at ESB Feis Ceoil.

Marta Pluda

Born in 1997, Marta Pluda studied at the Academy of MMF-Opera of Florence (2016-18), Academy of belcanto of Festival della Valle D’ltria (2019), Rossinian Academy in Pesaro (2020). At ROF she was Enrico in Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra, as Roggiero in Tancredi and sang in Gala Rossini with Juan Diego Florez.

In 2022 she was Angelina in La Cenerentola, for AsLiCo tournée in theatres as Sociale of Como, Donizetti of Bergamo, Arcimboldi of Milano, Regio of Parma, Sferisterio of Macerata. In Parma she sang the IX Simphony by L. van Beethoven with Toscanini orchestra, M° Fabio Luisi conducting.

Leah Redmond

Originally from Co. Kildare, Irish soprano Leah Redmond is in the final year of her master’s degree at the Royal College of Music, London where she is the Rose Williams scholar. She previously graduated from the Royal Irish Academy of Music with a first-class Honours degree under Dr. Veronica Dunne and Dr. Dearbhla Collins. In March 2020 she premiered the Evangelina Rigaki piece If Words are Water in a series of concerts in New York and in 2019 made her debut in Ireland’s National Concert Hall accompanied by James Vaughan. Operatic roles include Erste knabe in Die Zauberflöte (Mozart), Sarah Peterson in Banished (Stephen McNeff) and Constancy in Scipio’s Dream (Judith Weir).

A recipient of The Lyons Club Bursary at The Trench Award, Leah is a Mozart Singing Competition semi-finalist and in 2018 was named Royal Irish Academy of Music’s Most Promising Performer in the Irené Sandford Singing Competition.

Rebecca Warren

Rebecca Warren is a pianist and violinist from Wexford currently studying on the repetiteur Master’s programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She holds an MA, BA and Diploma in music performance and has studied with Dearbhla Brosnan, Marian Ingoldsby, Jan Čáp, Una Kindlon, Mariana Sîrbu and Ferenc Szücs. She was repetiteur with the inaugural Irish National Opera Studio 2018/2019. She has worked on several operatic productions including Aida, Madama Butterfly, Les enfants terribles, Die Zauberflöte and Le nozze di Figaro. 

Her repetiteur training has taken her to Italy, Luxembourg, the UK and Greece and she also recently undertook further studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Collaborations and concert tours with other artists have brought Rebecca to the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and the UK. She is passionate about the promotion of Irish contemporary music and is co-founder of Crescent Festival of Irish Contemporary Music. In 2020 Rebecca was awarded the prestigious Next Generation Artist Award by the Arts Council.

Wexford Festival Opera would like to acknowledge and thank The Arts Council, Wexford County Council, Fáilte Ireland/Ireland’s Ancient East and the Festival’s Friends, Sponsors, and Donors for their invaluable and continued support.

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Johanna Dehaene

Corporate Communications, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

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