A new opera, The Golden Ticket was indeed the talking point at the Wexford Festival Opera – a European premiere – from Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, who opened the work in June of this year.

Based on Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the chocolate Factory, this was a show advertised as a family event but on the weekend night I was there, there was not a lot of families present, but at €120 a ticket, would you wonder.

Written by Donald Sturrock with music by Peter Ash it was hard to categorise. It was lavishly costumed and had clever props and scenery but nothing like a Sherman musical like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

A contemporary opera, it wasn’t interesting enough but contemporary opera can be difficult to categorise too. As musical theatre it didn’t have hit tunes or big routines and the Oompa Lumpas and squirrels provided much of the narrative choral work. I don’t mean to be unkind but this was more an event – a talking point or at best posh panto with Wonka as Godfather.

Michael Kopler Med was a fine Charlie and Wayne Tigges was fun as Willie Wonka and Mr Know (a character Sturrock created for its dramatic possibilities).

I found Sturrock’s bio on Roald Dahl, storyteller, a bit rambling and this opera was too long or not musically interesting enough to sustain its two hours length.

But it was a blast and the volunteer staff at the venue were welcoming, friendly and helpful. This was big event theatre and as tht it succeeded.