three fashionistas from kildare village advise us on what to wear to The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival returning 29 May – 5 June 2023
Photography Veronica Faustmann
Lismore Castle is the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival’s (BVOF) home, and gives it its utterly unique vibe. During BVOF’s brief summer season, visitors to the town of Lismore in Co Waterford are amazed by the Blackwater Valley’s natural beauty, and revel in the atmosphere of what feels like a fun summer country house party. The Castle’s picturesque Stable Yard, the principal venue, provides a magical setting for bespoke – and innovative – opera productions while a related profusion of top-notch concerts, recitals and performances make use of the Valley’s appealing historical venues. This is the place to explore opera in an environment where music is centre stage, yet there’s so much else to do, from goings on in the local pubs to art exhibitions and garden tours.
Seasoned opera-goers plan outfits for warmth: a coat, wrap or cloak is essential. Kildare Village, a patron of the BVOF, have the ideal line-up of opera wear, from the simple to the standout. The stylists there suggest dressing up a simple dress in a jewel colour with statement jewellery. As to the choice of bag, take a clutch: “you can tuck it behind you at dinner and under your wrap during the performance.”
Desirée Bollier of Value Retail, hosts guests at the Festival.
CATHY O’CONNOR wears a red ruffle collar dress, €65, Mint Velvet; red and black Marnie coat, €795, Louise Kennedy; Alexis Bittar Punk Royale earrings from Loulerie, at Curated by Design Centre; all at Kildare Village.
Opera-goer VAL FORDE wears a floral Madison dress, Bash, €191.40; gold shacket, €466; blue Heaven handbag, €298; both Zadig & Voltaire; all at Kildare Village.
BVOF fan JOHANNA DOOLEY wears a blue Paul Costelloe dress from Curated by Design Centre, €400; Mignonne Gavigan earrings from Loulerie at Curated by Design Centre, €199; Gisele bracelet by Christina Goldston at Curated by Design Centre, €135; all at Kildare Village.
This summer, the Festival returns from 29 May–5 June 2023. Festival Director Eamonn Carroll and Artistic Director Dieter Kaegi will preside over 21 events at twelve venues over eight days. The highlight will be four evening performances of Verdi’s Macbeth, conducted by Killian Farrell, directed by Sarah Baxter, in collaboration with the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
The BVOF Concert Series is set at the quirky Dromore Yard, where Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy will debut at BVOF with the Irish Baroque Orchestra & Peter Whelan for Where Shall I Fly? A Handel Celebration; Nadège Rochat and Judith Jáuregui will perform a programme for cello and piano A Poet’s Garden; and acclaimed English tenor, Ian Bostridge will present Shakespeare Songs. Early booking is advisable. www.blackwatervalleyoperafestival.ie.