Past Festivals

Past Festivals

Media Information 

Past Festival Information

The 10th Blackwater Valley Opera Festival 2019 – Donizetti's Don Pasquale

In 2019 Blackwater Valley Opera Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary with a memorable production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Lismore Castle. The story of Don Pasquale revolves around a classic comedic premise: a young couple in love schemes to thwart the inappropriate plans of a pompous old man, who wants to marry the girl himself. What makes the opera notable within this familiar genre is its emphasis on genuine human emotion. Donizetti’s score is graceful and effervescent, as one would expect from this master of melody, but adds an additional level of sophistication to match the comic (yet insightful) proceedings.

Highlights from the Recitals and Concerts Programme included Giovanni Bellucci’s candlelit piano concert with music by Liszt at Dromore Yard.

Don Pasquale – Michele Govi
Ernesto – Manuel Nuñez Camelino
Malatesta – Emmett O’Hanlon
Norina – Aoife Gibney

Artistic Director – Dieter Kaegi
Conductor – Darren Hargan
Director – Pierre-Emmanuel Rousseau
Sets and Costumes – Slawek Narwid

Festival Director: Eamonn Carroll

The 9th Blackwater Valley Opera Festival 2018 - Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri
Building on the legacy of the Lismore Opera Festival the rebrand in 2018 to The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival came as a result of the expansion of the festival programme to a larger number of venues for recitals along The Blackwater in this most idyllic part of Ireland’s Ancient East. The opera also extended for a third night with an opening Gala Night on Wednesday with the magnificent Lismore Castle again playing host to these well received performances.
Artistic Director, Dieter Kaegi, programmed Rossini’s tale of intrigue, comedic mischance, and the triumph of love – and of strong women! L’Italiana in Algeri was premiered in Venice in 1813, and has been delighting audiences for more than 200 years.
Fusing sustained energy, with elegant melodies, the opera tells the tale of Elvira and Isabella, who must together make a plan to ensure that love will conquer all.

Mustafa – Leonardo Galeazzi
Isabelle – Rachel Kelly
Lindoro – Javier Abreu
Elvira – Rachel Croash
Taddeo – Rory Musgrave
Zulma – Sandra Oman
Haly – Rory Dunne

Artistic Director – Dieter Kaegi
Conductor – Marco Zambelli
Director – Pierre Emmanuel Rousseau
Sets and Costumes – Slawek Narwid

Festival Director: Gemma Tipton

The 8th Annual Lismore Opera Festival 2017 - Donizetti’s L’Elisir D’Amore


The festival presented a new production Donizetti’s much loved comic opera, L’Elisir D’Amore, directed by Dieter Kaegi in the stunning surroundings of Lismore Castle stables and Gardens over two nights.

Anthony Kearns – Nemorino (Tenor)
Majella Cullagh – Adina (Soprano)
Damon Nestor Ploumis – Dr. Dulcamara (Bass)
Sandra Oman – Giannetta (Soprano)
Rory Musgrave – Belcore (Baritone)

LOF CHORUS comprising 12 students from (DIT, RIAM and Cork School of Music)

Director – Dieter Kaegi
Producer / Festival Manager – Jennifer O’Connell
Conductor – Marco Zambelli
Set Designer – Martin Boylan
Hair and Make up –  Maeve Readman
Costumes – Slawek Narwid

The 7th Annual Lismore Opera Festival 2016 - Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte

The festival presented the  production of Cosi fan Tutte in the familiar and beautiful surroundings of Lismore Castle’s gardens and stables, accompanied by LOF Chamber Orchestra and sung in Italian and  English. The recitatives, with the text often updated to include contemporary references, were given in English, the arias in the original language.  The stable setting was the inspiration for this year’s updating of the opera which was considered a real coup de théâtre by Michael Dervan in the Irish Times.

Don Alfonso, Damon Nestor Ploumis, Bass
Guglielmo, Gavan Ring, Bass
Dorabella, Michelle Daly, Mezzo-Soprano
Fiordiligi, Rachel Croash, Soprano
Despina, Sandra Oman, Soprano
Ferrando, Nicholas Ransley, Tenor


Lismore Opera Festival Chamber Orchestra
Reduced orchestration provided by Pocket Publications.
Conducted by Killian Farrell

Leader: Kenneth Rice.
Violin: Marian Power.
Viola: Niamh Roache.
Cello: Michelle Mason.
Double Bass: David Wickla.
Flute: Mairead English.
Oboe: Jenny Magee.
Clarinet: Ronan O Sullivan.
Bassoon: Sinead Frost.
French Horn: Liam Daly.

Jennifer O’Connell – Producer / Festival Manager
Dieter Kaegi – Artistic Director
Aidan Wallace – Production Manager
Benny Lynch – Sound
Richard ONeill – Lighting
Des Fitzsimons – Sets construction
Slwavek Narwid – Costumes
Meave Readmann – Wigs, Hair & makeup
Mary O’Connell – Wardrobe Mistress

The 6th Annual Lismore Opera Festival 2015 - Rossini’s La Cenerentola

Carolyn Dobbin: Angelina (Cenerentola, Cinderella), Mezzo
Javier Abreu: Prince Ramiro, tenor
Davide Bartolucci Dandini, valet to the Prince, baritone
Damon Ploumin Nestor: Don Magnifico, Cenerentola’s stepfather, bass
Dario Dugandzic: Alidoro, Philosopher and the Prince’s former tutor, bass, Chorus member
Sandra Oman: Clorinda, Don Magnifico’s older daughter, soprano
Norah King: Tisbe, Don Magnifico’s younger daughter
LOF Male Chorus: Courtiers from Prince Ramiro’s Palace

LOF Chamber Orchestra
Conductor: Marco Zambelli
Leader: Sylvia Roberts.
Violin: Lesya Iglody
Viola: Aoife Durnin
Cello: Michelle Mason
Double Bass: Aura Stone
Flute: Mairead English
Oboe: Sile Daly
Clarinet: Deirdre O Leary
Bassoon: Matthew Caufield
French Horn: Liam Daly
Harpsichord: Marco Zambelli

The 5th Annual Lismore Opera Festival 2014 - Mozart’s Magic Flute

The festival presented a totally original production of Mozart’s Magic Flute in a four pole circus tent provided by our friends and colleagues at Fossett’s Circus accompanied by LOF Chamber Orchestra and sung in English. Lismore Opera Festival’s creative team lead by Director Dieter Kaegi collaborated with Fossett’s Circus creative team on aspects of the production. Robert Fossett worked with Dieter on the lighting design and the family run circus led by Marion, Angela and their mother 85 year old Herta assisted LOF costume manager Slawek Narwid to provide authentic costumes and props. Members of the Fossetts circus troupe were also working with the cast to perfect some circus techniques such as juggling and trapeze work.

The Queen of the Night character (Soprano) Kim Sheehan performed some specific circus tricks in a surprise entrance for her renowned aria. The opera featured a mainly Irish Cast of singers and musicians, directed by Dieter Kaegi and were conducted by Italian Maestro, Marco Zambelli. The production also featured members of the Piccolo Lasso Children’s Choir under the direction of Ite O’Donovan.

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The 4th Annual Lismore Opera Festival 2013 - Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro

The festival presented a new production of Mozart’s much loved comic opera, Le nozze di Figaro or The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Dieter Kaegi in the stunning surroundings of Lismore Castle stables and Gardens.  The production featured an entirely Irish cast and chorus including worldclass singers such as Celine Byrne, Owen Gilhooly,  Kim Sheehan, Rachel Kelly, Gavan Ring, Joe Corbet, Mark Duff, Sandra Oman, Shauna Buckingham, along with a chorus of local choral singers and students from the Cork School of Music. The LOF Chamber Orchestra featured four members of the world renowned Lucernce Festival Strings from Switzerlandand Bill Dowdall (flute), Leonie Bluett (clarinet) and Ide Ni Chonnaill (Bassoon) under the baton of Italian conductor, Marco Zambelli who will also play pianoforte.

The 3rd Annual Lismore Opera Festival 2012 - Rossini's Barber of Seville

This year, the festival presented:

  • Two performances of a new production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at Lismore Castle
  • A special schools education and audience development performance in the presence of President Michael D Higgins
  • A Rossini concert at St. Carthage’s Cathedral
  • A recital at Salterbridge House
  • A festival barn dance at Fort William Farm
  • A variety of free events in the town of Lismore over the festival weekend.
The 2nd Annual Lismore Opera Festival 2011 - Mozart's Don Giovanni

LOF had assembled a fantastic cast of Irish and International singers and musicians for this unique Summer Musical event.  The Don Giovanni cast included,  Anthony Kearns as Don Ottavio; Cara O’Sullivan as Donna Anna;  Andrew Ashwin as Don Giovanni,  John Molloy as Leporello;  Fiona Murphy as Donna Elvira;  Mary O’Sullivan as Zerlina;  Gerard O’Connor as Commendatore & Gavan Ring as Masseto

The LOF Chamber Orchestra included Cora Venus Lunny – violin; Adrian Hart – violin;  Kate Ellis – cello;  Fiona Kelly – flute;  Nick Roth – saxophones; Colm O’Hara – trombone; David Adams – piano / harpsichord and Larrissa O’Grady – Viola & Violin.

The 1st Annual Lismore Opera Festival 2010 - Bizet's Carmen

A recital is a concert by a soloist or small group which follows a program. It can highlight a single performer, sometimes accompanied by piano, or a performance of the works of a single composer, or a single instrument (organ recital). The invention of the solo piano recital has been attributed to Franz Liszt. Also, a recital may have many participants, as for a dance recital. A dance recital is a presentation of choreographed moves for an audience, usually in an established performing arts venue, possibly competitively. Some dance recitals are seasonal.

Festival Partners

The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, centered in Lismore, Co. Waterford, is held in the breathtakingly beautiful surroundings of Lismore Castle and Historic Houses on the shores of the scenic Blackwater River.

Lismore Music Festival Clg
t/a Blackwater Valley Opera Festival,
8 Main Street,

CRO Num : 484001
CHY Num : 22220

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