Blackwater Valley Opera Festival

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Lismore Castle Gardens, Co. Waterford

The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (formerly the Lismore Opera Festival and Lismore Music Festival) is a classical music and opera festival held annually in Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland.[1] Founded in 2010 by Jennifer O'Connell and artistic director Dieter Kaegi, the festival was re-launched as the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival in February 2018.[2][3]

Previous events have consisted of three opera nights performed in Lismore Castle's stable yard.[4] Concerts and recitals have also been staged in Lismore and in historic homes located along the banks of the Blackwater River downstream to the parish of Cappoquin. These venues have included Salterbridge House, Cappoquin House, Tourin House, Dromore Yard and Lismore Cathedral.[5]

In 2012, Irish President Michael D. Higgins inaugurated the festival's annual school's access programme.[6]

Marco Zambelli was the conductor of the festival for several years, except in 2016, when Killian Farrell conducted Così fan tutte, and in 2019 when Darren Hargan conducted Don Pasquale.[7][8] The 2019 festival presented two operas for the first time, with 15 performances in total, including a solo recital by Giovanni Bellucci.[9][10]

The 2020 event was cancelled as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11][12] Throughout 2020, however, the festival's organisers coordinated with a classical music education company to run 200 outdoor concerts for residential care home residents in six counties.[13][14]

Past productions[edit]


  1. ^ a b Neil Fisher (9 June 2017). "L'elisir d'amore at Lismore Castle, Co Waterford". The Times.
  2. ^ "Festival homepage". Blackwater Valley Opera Festival. Archived from the original on 26 February 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2019. Building on the legacy of the Lismore Opera Festival, [the] Box office opens on March 1st 2018 [for] the Blackwater Valley [Festival] May 29th to June 3rd 2018
  3. ^ a b Saturday; June 02; Am, 2018-12:00 (2 June 2018). "Review: L'Italiana in Algeri - A spell-binding evening". Retrieved 22 May 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b Mark O'Sullivan (6 June 2012). "The Barber of Seville, Lismore Music Festival". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  5. ^ "The Festival – Venues". Blackwater Valley Opera Festival. Archived from the original on 15 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  6. ^ Nicki ffrench Davis (1 June 2012). "Schooled in opera". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Opera in the Valley". Munster Express Online. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Derry born conductor at Irish Opera Festival". 21 May 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  9. ^ Dervan, Michael. "Put Bellucci on your Liszt: this week's classical music highlight". The Irish Times. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  10. ^ Dervan, Michael. "Communal virtuosity is abundant in NSO's Strauss performance". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Updates on Summer Festivals Canceled Due to Coronavirus Outbreak". Opera Wire. 27 May 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  12. ^ "Blackwater Valley Opera Festival - BVOF 2020 Cancellation". Blackwater Valley Opera Festival. 21 March 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  13. ^ Mannion, Eleanor (18 September 2020). "'Covid Care Concerts' tour delights care home residents". RTÉ News.
  14. ^ "Opera brings festive cheer to care home residents in Limerick". Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  15. ^ Kearns, Kirsten Fedewa & Associates, L. L. C. and Anthony. "Tenor Anthony Kearns Returns to Lismore Opera Festival to Perform in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore". Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  16. ^ Dervan, Michael. "Opera in Waterford and an Irish debut: This week's classical music highlights". The Irish Times. Retrieved 3 June 2019.

External links[edit]