Blackwater Valley Opera Festival

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Lismore Castle Gardens, County 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]

While the 2020 event was cancelled as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic,[11][12] the festival's organisers ran outdoor concerts for residential care home residents.[13][14] By March 2021, this concert series was described as "the largest arts and health intervention supported in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland" and had included 350 live classical music concerts involving artists like Anthony Kearns, Des Keogh, Celine Byrne and Iarla Ó Lionáird.[15] The 2021 program was also modified due to COVID-19 restrictions, and included a number of free open air recitals in Lismore, Dungarvan, Youghal and Waterford.[16]

The 2022 event included a free open air concert in Fermoy, as well as concerts from Maurice Steger, Giovanni Bellucci, and Irish Baroque Orchestra.[17]

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 "Review: L'Italiana in Algeri - A spell-binding evening". Irish Examiner. 2 June 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
  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. Archived from the original on 27 February 2018. 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. ^ "350 Live Concerts With World-Class Artists Bring Joy To Residents Of Hospital Settings & Residental [sic] Care Homes". The Journal of Music. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  16. ^ "Blackwater Valley Opera Festival launches 2021 programme". The Avondhu Newspaper. 22 July 2021. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  17. ^ "Cork preparing for the welcome return of popular Blackwater Valley Opera Festival". The Corkman. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  18. ^ 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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Dervan, Michael. "Opera in Waterford and an Irish debut: This week's classical music highlights". The Irish Times. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Images of the Day". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  21. ^ "Orfeo ed Euridice: Gluck under canvas". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 June 2022.

External links[edit]