Local Students to Take Part in Blackwater Valley Opera Festival Opening Ceremony

By Afton Wooten

Over 100 local primary school students will perform at the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival’s Official Opening Ceremony in Millenium Park Lismore for the first time in the festival’s history.

Their performance is the culmination of a six-week education outreach program run by the festival in conjunction with Music Generation Waterford tutors Anita Mahon and Conor Clancy. For two months weekly workshop took place in the four schools allowing students to explore the imaginative world of opera. They learned about the history of opera, the different roles of the performers, and how to hit the high notes.

During the festival which runs May 27 through June 3, students will continue their opera education by attending workshops, performances, and get to meet the artists. Students will also attend the dress rehearsal of the “Giulio Cesare” by G.F. Händel. For many, this visit marks their first live opera experience.

Ronan and Clancy said in a press release, “This is a truly engaging, active, fun, musical, exciting, educational experience for our students, from the variety of learning about an opera, performing their own plays, learning a song, making props, taking part in games and activities, and getting to go to Lismore for the final trail and workshop.”

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival’s Educational Artists for 2024 are mezzo-soprano Eilís Dexter and bass-baritone Michael McCartan. They have partnered with Ireland’s Summer Opera Festival and Music Generation Waterford to spearhead the program, “Discover Opera and Discover Singing,” which offers transformative experiences and an appreciation of opera and vocal performance to students of all ages during the festival.