Wexford Festival Opera are to perform Alfred Cellier’s The Spectre Knight at the Wexford Arts Centre on 23 / 24 / 26 / 28 Oct at 3 pm; 29 /31 Oct at 11 am; 2 / 5 Nov at 3pm. Directed by Sinéad O’Neill with sets and costumes by Lisa Krugal the production will be piano-accompanied. Further details and booking information: https://www.wexfordopera.com/programme/event/the-spectre-knight/
Even by Wexford standards, Alfred Cellier (1844-91) is a rarely heard composer. He was a school friend of Arthur Sullivan, and the connections with Victorian operetta don’t stop there. Cellier’s Topsyturveydom has a libretto by W.S. Gilbert, and he collaborated with Gilbert again on his final work, The Mountebanks. As a conductor, Cellier worked with companies, including the D’Oyly Carte, touring with them as far afield as Australia and the USA. Cellier’s style has been described as ‘elegant and infallibly musical’, and it served him well across a career that saw him compose such memorable titles as Charity Begins at Home, Tower of London, Nell Gwynne, Belladonna and Dorothy.
Appearing midway through his output of around 15 works for the lyric stage, The Spectre Knight, which premiered in 1878 as a companion piece to The Sorcerer, is labelled a ‘fanciful operetta’.