The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival has been hailed an outstanding success by organisers. The 8-day festival which concluded today attracted over 5,000 people to the opera, concerts and recitals - including ticketed and free events.

Visitors engaged their senses as they basked in the summer sunshine with stunning performances by some of Ireland and Europe’s leading classical and operatic performers and bespoke dining experiences, in stunning historic venues. 

Local school children were the first to get a glimpse of what was in store for lucky audiences as over 400 primary and post-primary students took part in educational workshops on set, attended the Opera Dress Rehearsal, and performed at the Opening Ceremony.  

The flagship opera Giulio Cesare by G.F. Handel on the breathtaking grounds of Lismore Castle received rave reviews from audiences. Conductor Nicholas McGegan led the Irish Baroque Orchestra and a stellar cast directed by Tom Creed in an outstanding interpretation of one of Handel's greatest Italian operas.

Other highlights included some incredible performances at Dromore Yard - a romantic, semi-restored 19th-century farmyard on the banks of the River Blackwater; including a belcanto operatic concert - Of Emperors, Kings, and Queens, which starred Serenad Uyar, Leonardo Galeazzi, and Dearbhla Collins; the Clara Haskil Piano Competition Concert presented by Finghin Collins, which featured Magdalene Ho with Marc Coppey, and the festival finale Vivaldi Concert with the Irish Baroque Orchestra - conducted by Nicholas McGegan, and with Arianna Vendittelli, and Iestyn Morris. 

Audiences were treated to some breathtaking performances at a series of intimate classical recitals held in various historic locations and precious homes throughout the Blackwater Valley,  including the scenic Cappoquin House and Gardens, Tourin House, Salterbridge House, Woodhouse Estate, and the atmospheric St. Carthage’s Cathedral, Villierstown Church, and St Mary’s Collegiate Church. 

Performances included recitals by this year’s RDS Collins Memorial winner, BVOF Bursary winners, RIAM John Pollard winners, and Irish Heritage award winners.

The return of the Free Open Air Recitals Waterford and Cork (Lismore, Dungarvan, Youghal and Castlemartyr) proved to be a big hit with people of all ages enjoying the good weather with beautiful outdoor performances. 

Food enthusiasts enjoyed incredible pop-up dining experiences throughout the week which highlighted the stunning produce of the Waterford and Cork region. These included celebrity TV chef Eunice Power's Giulio Cesare menu at Lismore Castle, Gourmet Table Picnics by award-winning culinary duo Eamo & Ró, and lunchtime recital packages at local eateries. 

Eamonn Carroll, Festival Director of Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, expressed his delight with the success of the festival, thanking all involved for their support in showcasing Blackwater Valley’s rich musical and cultural offering. “The atmosphere all week long was just electric, from the world-class performances to delightful dining experiences, and of course the glorious weather. We were delighted to see people of all ages enjoying the programme of events and welcome both returning visitors and those new to opera and classical music.  We are indebted to the over 100 volunteers who supported us over the week, our valued sponsors and donors, and we are incredibly grateful to the Arts Council, Waterford City & County Council, Waterford Leader, Fáilte Ireland, Kildare Village, Marsh, AIB, the John Pollard Foundation, Castlemartyr Resort, Waterford Whisky, and the many local hotels and businesses for their support. “ 

Dates for next year’s festival 26 May - 2 June 2025. Priority booking opens at the end of January 2025 for BVOF members. Visit for more information.