The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (BVOF), Ireland’s unmissable summer opera, is returning on a high note for seven magical days from 31st of May to the 6th of June 2022.
The festival, which attracts more than 3,000 people to Waterford and the Blackwater Valley region each year, has embarked on an even bigger celebration of opera, classical music, and the arts than ever before.
Selected as the flagship festival for Waterford in 2022, it is the only festival of its kind making opera and classical music accessible to everyone in the region and is also a key driver of regional tourism.
Artistic Director Dieter Kaegi has developed a creative and imaginative programme for all to enjoy during its 13th season. BVOF will showcase emerging Irish talent alongside established international artists to bring opera to life in a variety of unique and stunning locations like Lismore Castle, Salterbridge House, St Carthage’s Cathedral, Villierstown Church and Tourin House along the beautiful Blackwater Valley.
The opera Orfeo ed Euridice is the headline event for four evening performances from June 1 – 5 at Lismore Castle, the heart of the festival. It is one of the most popular works by renowned composer Gluck, first performed in Vienna in 1762. This love story is based on the myth of Orpheus, a demigod with a talent for music. When his bride Euridice dies, he seeks her soul in the underworld. The opera will be directed by David Bolger and conducted by Peter Whelan – one of the most sought-after young directors in the world. It also has a fantastic cast, including rising star Wexford soprano Kelli-Ann Masterson, Meili Li, the first Chinese countertenor to have an international career, and Irish lyric-coloratura soprano Aoife Gibney, who has performed leading roles on various stages in Europe.
The opera performance will feature new artistic collaborations with the acclaimed Irish Baroque Orchestra, and dancers from the award-winning and powerful CoisCéim Dance Theatre, alongside the BVOF Chorus.
Other 2022 programme highlights include a series of unmissable concerts at the breath taking Dromore Yard in West Waterford, featuring Maurice Steger and Friends: with Daniele Caminiti and Mauro Valli; and the phenomenally talented pianist Giovanni Bellucci. The Irish Baroque Orchestra, conducted under the artistic direction of Peter Whelan, together with the acclaimed Nuria Rial and Juan Sancho, will draw audiences from all over the world.
A series of four free Open Air Lunchtime Recitals will be presented for the enjoyment of communities in Lismore, Youghal, Dungarvan and Fermoy. Advance booking is necessary on the festival website.
New for 2022, is a ‘Discover Singing’ programme, in conjunction with Music Generation Waterford, for local primary schools. This is in addition to the existing ‘Discover Opera’ education programme trail for schools, which began in 2021, and the free Opera Dress Rehearsal production for second-level school groups, which takes place on Tuesday 31st May at 8pm.
One of the many special things about the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival is the uniqueness of its performance venues which include Lismore Castle & Gardens, Salterbridge House, St Carthage’s Cathedral, Villierstown Church, Tourin House and Dromore Yard. From gothic castle grounds, to vaulted ceilings in sacred spaces, and heritage farm buildings, you will be hard pressed to get an operatic or classical experience in a more diverse range of settings!
Dining and hospitality will further amplify the festival experience with pre-opera formal dinner options and gourmet picnics in the grounds of Lismore Castle by Eunice Power. Concert goers can enjoy Sunday Lunch or a Festival Finale Feast at Dromore Yard by chef Colin Hennessy, while a selection of fine wines and champagne is available from to enjoy at opera performances (pre-booking on these optional extras is required).
Rising stars of Blackwater Valley Opera Festival – Kelli-Ann Masterson, soprano, with Alex O’Neill and Donking Rongavilla of CoisCéim Dance Theatre, at Lismore Castle, Waterford. This year’s festival runs from 31 May – 6 June, 2022 www.blackwatervalleyoperafestival.com Photo: Browne’s Photography
Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and the Royal Irish Academy of Music have also announced a transformative new music prize to support the studies of two master’s students every year at Ireland’s National Music Conservatoire. The largest bursary of its kind in Ireland, the BVOF/RIAM Next Generation Awards will select one vocal studies student and one instrumental student annually to receive €20,000 per student. This new award will assist each winner to complete their two-year master’s in music performance programme at the RIAM.
Kildare Village has been announced as the fashion retail sponsor of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival for 2022.
Opera Festival Director Eamonn Carroll expressed his excitement ahead of the summer event series: “Festivals have been notably absent for the past two years, so we feel there is an enhanced appetite this summer for arts and musical experiences. We are thrilled to be able to offer a fun, high quality, and accessible programme for all to enjoy. If you already know and love opera, you will be blown away by the quality of talent this year. And if this is your first exposure, we promise to leave you captivated! From the storytelling, the operatic singing, orchestral music, costumes and staging to the overall performance, there is something for everyone! The arts, and in particular opera, can have a reputation as being ‘highbrow’ but we really have worked hard to break that perception and make the festival accessible for all. With the free lunchtime concerts and our extensive school’s engagement program, we hope to inspire a new appreciation of opera and classical music for locals and visitors alike.”
President Michael D. Higgins is a fan of the festival: “Music is such a powerful medium and the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival has been working tirelessly promoting the beauty and relevance of opera. It is wonderful to witness results of the drive and enthusiasm of such dedicated people making opera more accessible and connected to audiences in such an inclusive and authentic manner.”
2022 PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS
Blackwater Valley Opera Festival- Headline Opera
- Orfeo ed Euridiceby Gluck will be performed at 8pm on Wednesday 1st June, Friday 3rd June, Saturday 4th June (SOLD OUT), and Sunday 5th June at Lismore Castle. Prices €80-€200 (Ticket price excludes €3.50 booking fee per order)
Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (BVOF) Concerts
- Maurice Steger & Friends: Music for the Opera Intermissions – Thursday 2nd June, 8pm Dromore Yard, Co. Waterford. Prices €25 – €60 (Ticket price excludes €3.50 booking fee per order)
- Giovanni Bellucci Concert: Myths and Legends – Orpheus – Monday 6th June, 1pm at Dromore Yard, Co. Waterford. Prices €25 – €60 (Ticket price excludes €3.50 booking fee per order)
- Irish Baroque Orchestra with Nuria Rial and Juan Sancho – Handel Programme – Happy We! – Monday 6th June, 8pm at Dromore Yard, Co. Waterford. Prices €25 – €60 (Ticket price excludes €3.50 booking fee per order)
Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (BVOF) Recitals:
- BVOF Open Air Lunchtime Recitals: Lismore: Millennium Park – Wednesday 1st June at 1pm, Dungarvan: Walton Park – Friday 3rd June at 12 noon, Youghal: Green Park – Saturday 4th June at 12 noon, Fermoy: Town Park – Monday 6th June at 12 noon
- BVOF Chorus Recital 2022: Stepping Out from the Chorus – Thursday 2nd June at 1pm, Villierstown Church, Co. Waterford. Tickets €10. (Ticket price excludes €3.50 booking fee per order)
- BVOF Bursary Recital 2022: With Ellen Mawhinney and John Porter – Friday 3rd June 1.30pm at Tourin House, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. Price €20 plus booking fee. Unallocated seating.
- Irish Songmakers Recital: Niall Kinsella with Kelli-Ann Masterson and Andrew Gavin – Friday 3rd June 4pm Salterbridge House, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. Price €20 plus booking fee.
- RDS Collins Memorial Recital 2022: With Phoebe White and Ellen Jansson – Saturday 4th June 1pm at St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore. Price €20 plus booking fee. *Local community groups and children under 12 may attend, free of charge as part of the festival outreach programme – contact the Box Office.
- ‘Joyce in Music’ Recital: With Princess Grace Irish Library, Monaco and RIAM – Saturday 4th June 4pm at St Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore. Price €20 plus booking fee
- Irish Heritage Bursary Recital 2022: With David Corr and Clara Siegle – Sunday 5th June 1pm at Salterbridge House, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford. Price €20 plus booking fee. *Concessions are available for senior citizens, students and community groups via the Box Office
The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival is a living, breathing opera and classical music experience – made possible with the support grants from The Arts Council, Waterford City & County Council, Waterford Leader, and Faílte Ireland. The festival’s lead sponsors are Kildare Village, Marsh, AIB and the John Pollard Foundation.
Festival Tickets are now available for purchase through the online booking system at www.blackwatervalleyoperafestival.com