More than 4,500 people attended Blackwater Valley Opera Festival for our most successful year yet. Our 2023 sold-out festival filled the summer air with the beautiful tones of world-class performers. Ireland’s summer opera festival featured 21 events including opera, recitals and concerts at 12 beautiful locations, steeped in history and character. The festival was made accessible to all with free open air recitals and education programmes including a schools’ night for 400 local students and children.
Highlights included the headline opera Verdi’s Macbeth, set in the grounds of Lismore Castle, conducted by Killian Farrell, directed by Sarah Baxter and in artistic collaboration with the Irish Chamber Orchestra as well as concerts with Ian Bostridge and Saskia Giorgini, Nadège Rochat and Judith Jáuregui, and Paula Murrihy with the Irish Baroque Orchestra & Peter Whelan, at Dromore Yard.
Festival Director Eamonn Carroll said, “We are delighted that we were able to bring such high calibre performances to this year’s Blackwater Valley Opera Festival. The weather, the stunning locations, and beautiful menus by Eunice Power and Eamo & Ró all created unique experiences for our audiences. This has been our most successful year yet – from our highest ticket sales ever, to number of artists and the quality of this year’s events – we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback, it has been an extraordinary festival.”
“I’d like to thank my team for all their work behind the scenes, all the volunteers who gave their time over the festival week, our generous funders, donors and sponsors, Local Heroes, schools and local communities, the festival audiences, and all of our incredible artists.”
We had a festival with glorious weather, style and glamour and if you had your picture taken at our flower wall, courtesy of the BVOF fashion retail sponsor Kildare Village – please tag us for a share to stories on Instagram using #BVOF2023
The BVOF Hospitality Village Experience in the gardens of Lismore Castle looked gorgeous in the sun for our opera patrons this year. Did you try a Waterford Whisky Witches Brew cocktail, compliments of our hospitality sponsor Waterford Distillery? There was plenty to enjoy under our beautifully lit stretch tents with Eunice Power’s formal dining experience – The Macbeth Menu – and Eamo & Ró’s delicious gourmet table picnics; with drinks at the BVOF Opera Bar, and wine pairings offered by Paul & Jordan Foley, sommeliers and owners of The Corkscrew Wine Merchants in the formal dining areas.
Congratulations to L.Scott – who is the lucky winner of our Opera Grand Draw and recipient of a fabulous €250 Kildare Village Gift Card and a €250 Waterford Distillery Tour and Waterford Whisky prize.
“Wonderful music in a spectacular setting… Verdi’s Macbeth featured among the highlights of an event where the weather gods smiled on the assembled opera fans… Turkish soprano Serenad Burcu Uyar convinced in her portrayal of Lady Macbeth opposite Italian baritone Vittorio Vitelli. John Porter impressed in the supporting role of Macduff, well matched vocally with Andrew Gavin as Malcolm, both tenors.”
“…The fading light allowed the lighting design of Eamon Fox to come in to play in the second half. With a vivid blood-red backdrop for the refugee chorus, Patria Oppresa was a vocal and visual highlight. Director Sarah Baxter added some local colour with the branches of Birnam Wood bearing the mauve blooms of rhododendrons… The 30-piece Irish Chamber Orchestra under Killian Farrell were tucked away to the stage right but there was no sense of disconnect and some excellent offstage brass effects…”
“…This version of Macbeth scores heavily in the department where it matters most—the musical performances, which are strong across the board… Uyar(‘s) vibrato-charged arias throughout are compelling. Galeazzi also impresses with an impassioned performance that captures Macbeth’s emotional turbulence, his crushing torment and fear. There are fine turns too from bass Goran Jurić as Banquo and tenor John Porter as Macduff. It is the chorus pieces, however, that really stir the blood… Kudos to Director Sarah Baxter and set/costume designer Francis O’Connor for their unforgettable witches.”
“Ireland’s summer opera festival with top-class, world-class artists… Memories of the renowned English summer opera festival were awakened – musically, Blackwater (Valley Opera Festival) can definitely compete with Glyndebourne…”