The seventh annual Lismore Opera Festival will take place at Lismore Castle, Co Waterford, on June 3 and 4.
Ireland’s only summer opera festival, its wide variety of attractions across theatre, music, and food is expected to draw thousands of visitors from home and abroad to the west Waterford region.
Courtesy of Lord and Lady Burlington, the festival’s centrepiece takes place in a pop-theatre amid the atmospheric surrounds of Lismore’s courtyard stables over the bank holiday weekend.
The event’s two performances feature Mozart’s comic opera Cosi fan tutti (first performed in 1790) — the story of tested love and fickle temptation and starring American bass baritone Damon Nestor Ploumis in the lead role as Don Alfonso. The cast otherwise provides a platform for both established and burgeoning Irish opera performers, with music by Lismore Chamber Orchestra.
Under the festival’s School’s Education and Audience Development Programme, local schools and youth groups have been invited to attend Thursday night’s dress rehearsal.
Having weathered austere times, the ever-evolving festival has more recently developed “the support of new patrons and a new ‘Friends of the Festival and Ambassador’ programme”, says festival founder and producer, Jennifer O’Connell.
“This, along with local authority funding, commercial sponsorship, ticket sales, and the huge support of the local community, enables us to ensure its sustainability and to plan further expansion in future years.”
Festival inducements also include a three-course pre-opera dinner under canvas in the exotic, walled garden of Lismore Castle, served by Cork’s Rocket Man Food Company.
Additional attractions include recitals by Cosi fan tutti members at nearby Cappoquin House on Saturday afternoon, while Lismore students from the Cork School of Music, DIT and RIAM will perform a noon time variety of arias, duets, and ensemble pieces at Salterbridge House, Cappoquin a day later.
Both venues also offer an exclusive garden tour.
Lismore itself will be “bubbling with music throughout the weekend”, said Ms O’Connell, with a fringe festival holding a variety of musical events in local venues such as St Carthage’s Cathedral, The Summerhouse Café, Foley’s on the Mall, Eamonn’s Place, The Barbershop, The Redhouse and Saffron Indian Restaurant.
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