Few people who attended the performance of Balfe’s The Rose of Castile in 1951 could have realised what an important cultural event had been started. Forty years later Wexford is a potent force in the world of music, not just in Ireland but in every corner of the globe. It has staged over one hundred operas, resurrected names from oblivion and introduced a host of young singers, many of whom have gone on to international stardom. This anniversary anthology does not pretend to present the authoritative history of the Festival but rather to catch its atmosphere and recall some of its highlights through words and pictures. Many of the most distinguished writers from the world of opera have prepared special pieces or have selected their favourite articles on the Festival. Andrew Porter relates the delights of discovering the artistic merits of the town itself, John Higgins enjoys the races, Desmond Shawe-Taylor recalls one of his early reviews, Elizabeth Forbes delves into the Don Giovanni legend and Bernard Levin recalls the man who served as director for the first fifteen years, the now legendary Dr Tom. This is a collection of entertaining and informative essays which will delight opera lovers, young and old. It is liberally illustrated with photographs of famous productions and contains a wealth of information on the Festival itself, including the full production details and cast listings from its first year.