The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival (BVOF), Ireland’s unmissable summer opera festival, is returning on a high note for seven magical days from 31st of May to the 6th of June 2022.

Highlights include the headline opera Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with the award-winning Irish Baroque Orchestra and CoisCéim Dance Theatre, BVOF Voices of Ukraine, a new ‘Discover Singing’ program, concerts in the breath-taking Dromore Yard, a James Joyce spoken recital, dance and orchestral collaborations, free open-air lunchtime performances in towns across Waterford and Cork, and unique dining experiences.

The festival, which attracts more than 3,000 people to Waterford and the Blackwater Valley region each year, has embarked on an even bigger celebration of opera, classical music, and the arts than ever before.

Artistic Director Dieter Kaegi has developed a creative and imaginative program for all to enjoy during its 13th season. BVOF will showcase emerging Irish talent alongside established international artists to bring opera to life in a variety of unique and stunning locations like Lismore Castle, Salterbridge House, St Carthage’s Cathedral, and Villierstown Church and Tourin House along the beautiful Blackwater Valley.

The opera Orfeo ed Euridice is the headline event for four evening performances from June 1 – 5 at Lismore Castle, the heart of the festival.  It is one of the most popular works by renowned composer Gluck, first performed in Vienna in 1762.  This love story is based on the myth of Orpheus, a demigod with a talent for music.  When his bride Euridice dies, he seeks her soul in the underworld.  The opera will be directed by David Bolger and conducted by Peter Whelan - one of the most sought-after young directors in the world.  It also has a fantastic cast, including rising star Wexford soprano Kelli-Ann Masterson, Meili Li, the first Chinese countertenor to have an international career, and Irish lyric-coloratura soprano Aoife Gibney, who has performed leading roles on various stages in Europe.

The opera performance will feature new artistic collaborations with the acclaimed Irish Baroque Orchestra, and dancers from the award-winning and powerful CoisCéim Dance Theatre, alongside the BVOF Chorus.

 Other 2022 program highlights include a series of unmissable concerts at the breathtaking Dromore Yard in West Waterford, featuring Maurice Steger and Friends: with Daniele Caminiti and Mauro Valli; and the phenomenally talented pianist Giovanni Bellucci. The Irish Baroque Orchestra, conducted under the artistic direction of Peter Whelan, together with the acclaimed Nuria Rial and Juan Sancho, will draw audiences from all over the world.

A series of four free Open Air Lunchtime Recitals will be presented for the enjoyment of communities in Lismore, Youghal, Dungarvan and Fermoy.  Advance booking is necessary on the festival website.

New for 2022, is a ‘Discover Singing’ program, in conjunction with Music Generation Waterford, for local primary schools. This is in addition to the existing 'Discover Opera' education program trail for schools, which began in 2021, and the free Opera Dress Rehearsal production for second-level school groups, which takes place on Tuesday 31st May at 8pm.

One of the many special things about the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival is the uniqueness of its performance venues which include Lismore Castle & Gardens, Salterbridge House, St Carthage’s Cathedral, Villierstown Church, Tourin House and Dromore Yard. From gothic castle grounds to vaulted ceilings in sacred spaces and heritage farm buildings, you will be hard-pressed to get an operatic or classical experience in a more diverse range of settings!

Dining and hospitality will further amplify the festival experience with pre-opera formal dining options and gourmet picnics in the grounds of Lismore Castle by Eunice Power. Concert goers can enjoy Sunday Lunch or a Festival Finale Feast at Dromore Yard by chef Colin Hennessy, while a selection of fine wines and champagne is available from to enjoy at opera performances (pre-booking on these optional extras is required).

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and the Royal Irish Academy of Music have also announced a transformative new music prize to support the studies of two master’s students every year at Ireland's National Music Conservatoire. The largest bursary of its kind in Ireland, the BVOF/RIAM Next Generation Awards will select one vocal studies student and one instrumental student annually to receive €20,000 per student. This new award will assist each winner to complete their two-year master’s in music performance programme at the RIAM. 

Kildare Village has been announced as the fashion retail sponsor of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival for 2022.

 Festival tickets are now available for purchase through the online booking system at

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