Blackwater Opera Fest Returns

The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival is returning on a high note for seven 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. 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 locations like Lismore Castle, Salterbridge House, St Carthage’s Cathedral, Villierstown Church and Tourin House along the 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. 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 concerts at Dromore Yard in West Waterford, featuring Maurice Steger and Friends: with Daniele Caminiti and Mauro Valli, and 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.

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.

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.