Over 100 local primary school students are set to make history by performing at the Official Opening Ceremony of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival in Millenium Park Lismore. This marks the first time in the festival’s history that young students will take part in the event.

The students’ performance is the culmination of a six-week education outreach program organized by the festival in collaboration with Music Generation Waterford tutors Anita Mahon and Conor Clancy. The program included weekly workshops in four schools where students had the opportunity to explore the world of opera, learn about its history, the roles of performers, and even how to hit the high notes.

During the festival, which runs from May 27 to June 3, the students will continue their opera education by attending workshops, performances, and meeting the artists. They will also have the chance to attend the dress rehearsal of “Giulio Cesare” by G.F. Händel, providing many of them with their first live opera experience.

Educational Artists for the 2024 festival are mezzo-soprano Eilís Dexter and bass-baritone Michael McCartan. They are leading the program “Discover Opera and Discover Singing,” in partnership with Ireland’s Summer Opera Festival and Music Generation Waterford. This program aims to provide transformative experiences and cultivate an appreciation for opera and vocal performance among students of all ages during the festival.

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