‘Is This An Opera Which I See Before Me…?’ Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’ to Headline Blackwater Valley Opera Festival

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Blackwater Valley Opera Festival has announced a ground-breaking new production of Verdi’s Macbeth, conducted by Killian Farrell, directed by Sarah Baxter and in artistic collaboration with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, as the headline event at Lismore Castle Waterford on 31 May, 2, 3 and 4 June.

The first genuine masterpiece of Giuseppe Verdi’s career – and first of his three Shakespearean operas – Macbeth is a political thriller full of intrigues, murders, and passion. Verdi created this stunning musical portrait of opera’s most power-hungry couple with wonderful, unforgettable arias. 

It stars the legendary baritones Leonardo Galeazzi and Vittorio Vitelli, alternating as Macbeth; Serenad Burcu Uyar as the fiendish Lady Macbeth, and world-renowned bass Gorán Jurich as Banco. The supporting cast includes BVOF bursary winners John Porter and Rory Dunne; Emily Hogarty, Andrew Gavin and the Blackwater Valley Opera Chorus. 

In all, Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (BVOF), Ireland’s Summer Opera, is returning for eight magical days from 29th May to 5th June with an impressive programme of 21 events at 12 stunning venues in Lismore, Youghal, Dungarvan and Fermoy, with everything from big tickets to free tickets.

More than 4,500 visitors are expected to attend the world renowned, unique, and inclusive opera and classical music week, which is now in its 13th year.  The festival attracts top talent and will welcome 103 international and Irish artists, present 65+ hours of music, and deliver education outreach to an estimated 2,500 local students.  And it all happens thanks to the support of 98 volunteers, 100 Friends of BVOF, and 25 sponsors, funders, and partners.   

2023 concert highlights at the architecturally quirky Dromore Yard – a romantic, semi-restored 19th century farm yard on the banks of the River Blackwater – will feature English tenor Ian Bostridge accompanied by pianist Saskia Giorgini; cellist Nadège Rochat and pianist Judith Jáuregui; and Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy along with the Irish Baroque Orchestra and Peter Whelan will close out the festival on June Bank Holiday Monday.

The festival recital series will feature a variety of beautiful programmes in the magical surrounds of Woodhouse Estate, Salterbridge House, Tourin House St Carthage’s Cathedral, Villierstown Church, St Mary’s Collegiate Church, and Villierstown Church.

There will be four free open-air recitals delivering the magic of Ireland’s summer opera festival to Lismore, Youghal, Dungarvan and Fermoy. These popular open air lunchtime recitals are available for local communities and must be booked in advance on the BVOF website to secure a seat.

The popular education outreach Discover Singing and Discover Opera programmes return for local national school children, in conjunction with Music Generation Waterford. The Opera Dress Rehearsal for second-level students on Monday 29 May is where hundreds of students and their teachers will get to experience a full scale opera production, completely free of charge.

Dining and hospitality will again be a core part of this unique festival, with formal opera dining by well-known chef Eunice Power in the grounds of Lismore Castle, Gourmet Picnics by Eamo & Ró at Lismore Castle and Dromore Yard; a BYOP (Bring Your Own Picnic) option at Dromore Yard; and new lunchtime recital packages in partnership with selected local restaurants, supporting local suppliers.

Luxury shopping destination Kildare Village is the Fashion Retail sponsor of Blackwater Valley Opera Festival for 2023, and the award-winning Waterford Whisky distillery has just been announced as the new Hospitality Partner of the festival.  Blackwater Valley Opera Festival is supported by grants from the Arts Council, Waterford City & County Council, and Fáilte Ireland. The festival’s lead sponsors are Kildare Village, Marsh, AIB and the John Pollard Foundation.

Commenting on the festival, Brian O’Flynn, Head of Ireland’s AncienEast said: “This spectacular arts and culture summer opera festival has developed its own distinctive voice within the opera and classical music world, bringing fresh vision and focus to Waterford tourism and Ireland’s Ancient East.”

Eamonn Carroll, Festival Director of Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming festival attendees from near and far for what will be a week of stunning performances with incredible talent from Ireland and around the world.  Whether you love opera and classical music or just want a unique live music experience, there’s something for everyone.”

“Blackwater Valley Opera Festival was honoured to be nominated in three categories at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards 2023 (Best Opera, Best Set, Best Movement) for Orfeo ed Euridice in 2022, and I would like to sincerely congratulate David Bolger for winning Best Movement Direction for the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival production of Orfeo ed Euridice and Go to Blazes with Coiscéim Dance.  We’re hoping for another award-winning year ahead with the stunning Macbeth production.”

The Big Tickets (Opera)

Macbeth- 31 May, 2, 3, 4 June

Tickets €75-220. Lismore Castle Waterford

The Dromore Yard Concerts

Ian Bostridge and Saskia Giorgini – Thurs 1 June

Nadège Rochat and Judith Jáuregui – Sun 4 June

Paula Murrihy with the Irish Baroque Orchestra &  Peter Whelan – Mon 5 June

Tickets €25-60. Dromore Yard, Aglish, Co. Waterford

Recitals for The Classical Music Lovers 

From 29 May – 5 June 2023

Artists include Amy Gillen, Kelli-Ann Masterson, Niall Kinsella, Mairead Hurley, Abigail LaDuke, Ella Nagy, Frasier Hickland, Megan O’Neill, Amy Ní Fhearraigh,  BVOF Chorus.

Venues in Youghal, Fermoy, Lismore, Dungarvan, Cappoquin, Villierstown.

Tickets €25 / €10 Concessions / Limited Free Tickets 

The 2023 Free Shows

BVOF Free Open-Air Lunchtime Recitals – Fermoy, Youghal, Lismore, Dungarvan

30 May, 2, 3, 4 June Tickets FREE. Booking essential to secure seating.  

Lismore Castle Waterford

For The Foodie Lovers

The Macbeth Menu by Eunice Power – 31 May, 2, 3, 4 June

Tickets €55- €75 Lismore Castle Waterford

Gourmet Table Picnics by Eamo & Ró – 31 May, 2, 3, 4 June

Tickets €55 Lismore Castle Waterford

Gourmet Table Picnics by Eamo & Ró – 1, 4, 5 June

Tickets €55 Dromore Yard, Aglish, Co. Waterford

Lunchtime Recital Packages (2 Course Menu & Recital Ticket)

1 June – The Saucy Hen, Villierstown Tickets €30 

2 June – Barron’s Coffeehouse Cappoquin Tickets €30 

3 June – Fuller’s Bistro Lismore Tickets €30 

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival is supported by grants from the Arts Council, Waterford City & County Council, Waterford Leader and Fáilte Ireland. 

To discover more about BVOF’s eight days of opera, classical music recitals and concerts, schools programme, free events, dining experiences and more, visit

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