Don Pasquale

By Gaetano Donizetti

A tale of love, intrigue, money and some artful manoeuvres


Wed May 29th – Fri May 31st – Sat June 1st

Lismore Castle, 8:15pm (Dining from 6:30 pm)

Tickets From €85

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival 2019

Presenting Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti

A tale of love, intrigue, money and some artful manoeuvres
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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.

Each festival season our production team turns the Old Stable Yard at Lismore Castle into a pop-up auditorium with comfortable, raked seating under a big stretch canvass, bringing each member of the audience close to the action ‘on stage’.  The intimacy with the singers and the orchestra is what is so beguiling about this special arrangement.

Each year the beautiful romantic Stable Yard backdrop is tweaked by the BVOF talented set designers and set builders so it fits in perfectly to the narrative of the opera. This is why so many of our patrons return year after year as its an experience of opera like no other. This year for the first time we will be presenting subtitles so that every word sung is translated for your understanding.

Come experience the magic for yourselves.

Cast & Creative Team

Don Pasquale : Michele Govi
Malatesta : Emmett O’Hanlon
Ernesto : Manuel Nuñez Camelino
Norina : Aoife Gibney
Carlino : Sandra Oman

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival Chorus comprising 12 students from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama.


CREATIVE TEAM:  Once again co-founder of Lismore Opera Festival and the former Artistic Director of Opera Ireland Dieter Kaegi is at the helm, is again joined by Director Pierre-Emmanuel Rousseau. Acclaimed conductor Darren Hargan will raise his baton for the first time at Lismore Castle.

Artistic Director : Dieter Kaegi
Director : Pierre Emmanuel Rousseau 
Conductor : Darren Hargan
Set and Costume Designer : Slawek Narwid
Chorus Master : Mairead Hurley
Stage Manager : Conleth Stanley
Production Manager : Adam Fitzsimons

Formal Dining & Picnic Options


Music is the food of love, but wonderful food makes the music all the sweeter.
At this year’s Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, there is an outstanding array of dining and hospitality choices in the beautiful walled gardens of Lismore Castle.
We have fabulous feasts, luscious desserts, the finest snacks and vegetarian options, and we will be presenting a special menu for the performances of Don Pasquale.



This year we are again proud to partner with local chef, Eunice Power. The 3-course, sit-down dinner, with vegetarian option, in the exclusive canopied walled garden of Lismore Castle will be available at all performances of Don Pasquale and must be pre-booked and pre-paid on this website (at time of ticket purchase or later) or through our boxoffice , at least 3 days before the performance. The option to purchase will be presented to you at the time of purchasing tickets online.


To Start:

  • Chargrilled asparagus with ricotta and pistachio pesto
  • Seagull bakery sourdough with radish butter

Main Course:

  • Panfried Guinea fowl ,Garlic mashed potato, lemon, sage and pancetta sauce with french beans


  • Panna cotta with rhubarb compote and almond biscotti


More About Eunice

Price €55 p.p. excl. €3.50 sales commission per order.




You can also dine informally at the Opera. The informal dining option consists of a Picnic box by Mezze of Waterford. Informal dining takes place in the lower garden beside the main hospitality area. Advance booking essential and must be pre-booked and pre-paid on this website (at time of ticket purchase or later) or through our boxoffice, at least 5 days before the performance. The option to purchase will be presented to you at the time of purchasing tickets online.

Price €16.00 p.p. excl. €3.50 sales commission per individual or group order.

Mezze Picnic Box Menu at Lismore Castle – A light meal of salads, tapenade & focaccia 

  • Black olive tapenade
  • Mozzarella with slow roasted cherry tomatoes (7)
  • Orzo salad with walnut & spinach pesto (1, 8)
  • Green salad with parmesan & balsamic dressing (7)
  • Rosemary & sea salt sourdough focaccia (1)


  • Chocolate dipped strawberry (7)
  • Orange blossom shortbread biscuits (1, 3, 7)


Our local suppliers: Toonsbridge, Co. Cork – mozzarella / Grantstown nurseries, Co. Waterford – cherry tomatoes / Barefoot Farm, Co. Waterford –salad leaves /  Seagull bakery, Co. Waterford – sourdough focaccia / Wooded Pig, Ethically Raised Free Range Meat, Tara, Co. Meath – salami sticks

Allergen info: 1=gluten, 3=eggs, 7 = milk, 8=nuts

Menu subject to slight changes depending on supplier availability

The Mezze Story

Mezze is run by husband and wife team Dvir and Nicola. After returning from Israel to live to Waterford in 2015, the couple got to work setting up their dream food business supplying their delicious Middle Eastern inspired foods to customers at festivals and catering events, as well as stocking their products in shops and restaurants around the country. They have clocked up some wonderful reviews and awards in their short time in business including best new product of the year from McKennas Guides in January 2019. The couple are looking forward to catering for the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival again this year with flavours of the Mediterranean being incorporated into their picnic boxes. To find out more about Mezze see their website or social media @ mideastmezze.


Please note that the gardens at Lismore Castle are open to Opera patrons from 5:30pm. Our bar in the stretch tent will be open from 5:30pm with our restaurant open from 6pm, and throughout the 45 minute interval.No admission is granted to castle garden or grounds without an opera ticket. Dining and bars are open to opera guests only. Guests are not allowed to bring food and drinks into the gardens.
Pre-order your wines to accompany your festival feasts here Additional wine can be purchased on the night.

Your Evening At The Opera

One of the unique features of our festival is the friendly and helpful nature of the wonderful volunteer group who are present to assist our patrons in whatever manner that will make your visit to opera at Lismore Castle a memorable and issue free experience. From when you arrive please do not hesitate to seek advice from our volunteers.



A limited amount of car & mini-coach parking is available in the Lismore Castle car park but there is plenty of parking within short walking distance. Our traffic management volunteers will guide you.

Patrons and their guests are welcome to arrive from 5.30pm where our bar will be open in the beautiful grounds of historic Lismore Castle which our opera audiences are free to explore. Lismore Castle Arts also gives free and exclusive access to our guests to see the current summer contemporary art exhibition.

To gain access to the Castle grounds all visitors must show their tickets, or provide the name of their host at The Riding House located at the end of the avenue leading to the Castle. Opera programmes will be available at this point.

We operate a golf buggy system for those who may have mobility challenges over longer distances gaining access from the Castle entrance to the dining / performance area. A limited allocation of parking is also available for holders of Disabled Parking Permits. Please contact us at / +353 (0) 85 207 8944 in advance and we will be delighted to facilitate.

From 5:30pm : Gardens Open to Opera Patrons 

 From 6:00pm : Pre-performance Hospitality in the Castle Gardens

  • Opera Bar (Wines & limited spirits) opens
  • Informal picnic dining in the gardens – collect at the Bar
  • Formal dining (3 course meal) in the Restaurant Marquee
  • Please note that both Meal & Picnic options must be pre-booked at least 3 days prior to the relevant performance. 

8:15pm : Performance of Don Pasquale begins

  • Patrons are requested to take their seats 15 minutes before the performance commences
  • Please ensure all mobile devices are switched to silent and flash photography is not permitted during performances

 9:15pm approx : Interval

  • Opera Bar open for duration of interval
  • Desert will be served in the Restaurant Marquee
  • The interval lasts approximately 30 minutes

 10:30/10:45 approx  

Performances end between 10.30pm and 10.45pm when candlelit pathways light the way across the spectacular Castle Gardens

What To Wear

There is no dress code for our opera productions, However, many of our patrons like to take the opportunity to dress up, on occasion having to match their wellies with their dress suit or summer cocktail dress. We really don’t mind as long as you feel comfortable, and are dressed suitably for the weather whatever that might be on the night!

The Story & The Characters

Don Pasquale is very demanding of his nephew Ernesto, who he prefers to disinherit rather than see marry a woman, Norina who he finds “unsuitable”. Instead Don Pasquale decides to marry himself and produce his own heirs. Dr. Malatesta (disingenuously) agrees to help him. He suggests Don Pasquale marry his sister, a shy convent girl named “Sofronia”. In fact, Sofronia is Norina in disguise, who Malatesta convinces to go along with his plan in order to be closer to Ernesto.

Married to the elderly curmudgeon, she soon turns into a shrew and Don Pasquale soon regrets his decision. Convinced that Sofronia has a secret lover, Don Pasquale tries to trick her, but in fact he is the one who is duped. Realising he has been manipulated, Don Pasquale recognises that marriage is not for him and consents to the union of Ernesto with Norina.


Act Summary

The old curmudgeon Don Pasquale informs his physician, Dr. Malatesta, that he plans to wed in order to produce his own heirs and disinherit his nephew Ernesto, whose fiancée does not suit him. Marriage? The doctor suggests his sister, a convent girl, as a bride.
Malatesta’s “sister” is really Norina, Ernesto’s fiancée, in disguise. The clever Doctor has convinced Norina to “marry” Don Pasquale so she can be closer to Ernesto. In the middle of reading a romantic novel, Norina accepts to play the role of a perfect wife…

Cut off from his inheritance and betrayed by Malatesta, who he believed to be his friend, Ernesto, who is not in on the plan, sings in despair – he has lost his beloved Norina, who is about to marry his uncle!
Malatesta introduces Norina as the shy convent girl “Sofronia”, who changes into a complete shrew the moment she marries Don Pasquale,demanding money, jewellery, expensive contemporary art and generally turning his life upside down.

Don Pasquale starts to regret his marriage…But his worries have just begun. “Sofronia” drives him crazy, goes to the theatre alone and even slaps him in the face!
Convinced that Sofronia is unfaithful, Don Pasquale cooks up a plan with his (false) accomplice Dr. Malatesta, in a duet where the voices of the two baritones seem to be playing hide and seek. At the end of this new plot, Don Pasquale discovers he has been duped and that marriage is not for him. All is forgiven after he consents to Ernesto and Norina’s union.

Schools' Night Opera - 8:15pm Tuesday May 28th


A key feature of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (BVOF) is a full dress rehearsal production of the opera, presented free of charge to school children. We are gratefully assisted by The David Ross Foundation to provide the school children with this wonderful opportunity.

Last year over 450 children from schools in Waterford attended ‘L’Italiana in Algeri’ and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive from both students and accompanying teachers alike (read 2018 school children’s memories here).

For most of the children this is their first encounter of live opera; the richness of performance and powerful delivery of arias leaves a lasting impression on them which we hope will draw them to further exploration of opera. This all takes place in the Old Stable Yard of Lismore Castle courtesy of Lord and Lady Burlington which presents it own, unique heritage experience for the children.

The Schools’ Night Opera at Lismore Castle, our Double Bill at Dromore Yard and our music workshops in local schools form a vital part of BVOF’s education programme and we would encourage parents & teachers to engage with us for a wealth of experience for their children and pupils.

This year we present Donizetti’s witty comic opera, ‘Don Pasquale’ on Tuesday, 28th May at 8.15pm for our schools’ audience.

Educational materials will be circulated to participating schools in advance of the event which will give them a broader appreciation of what they will encounter. A partnership with Local Link, kindly facilitated by the Arts Office of Waterford City & County Council, allows us to provide coach transport to bring groups to this enlightening event.

Please complete & submit the form below to register your groups’ interest.


Our Sponsors

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