A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN
I am delighted to have the opportunity to write to you as the new Chairman of the Lismore Opera Festival.
I am very excited by its musical ambitions and the opportunities that the Festival will provide to a large number of people living in reach of the picturesque town of Lismore and beyond.
Over the past seven years the Lismore Opera Festival has established itself in the beautiful surroundings of the stable yard at Lismore Castle, the home of Lord & Lady Burlington. Lismore Castle scarcely needs an introduction as it is a magnificent testament to history as one of the earliest seats of learning that provided a bridge for Christianity and civilisation from the dark ages.
We wish in our own way to carry on this enlightenment to provide education, entertainment and opportunity, and to encourage this very demanding form of artistic endeavour in the most stunning and unique surroundings. Under the artistic direction of Dieter Kaegi along with the careful guidance of Producer Jennifer O’Connell, this opera festival has built a reputation for unforgettable musical experiences. By focusing on everyone’s firm favourites, we are able not only to satisfy the existing opera lovers cravings but also provide an entry point to ignite new awareness and passions in those who are only coming to this art form for the first time.
By creating the opportunity for young Irish singers to perform to the highest standard in an internationally produced opera, we enable them to build their confidence and repertoire and give them a rare opportunity for their future careers whilst working alongside many internationally renowned and established artistes. We hope to reinforce our growing reputation and encourage greater tourism and economic vitality by our unique offering.
A very important element that we wish to develop and expand is our education and outreach programme to encourage students and young people to participate, learn and experience the pleasure that comes with musical participation which is at its most complex and emotionally engaging in opera.
Beyond the exceptional Lismore Castle stable yard we have plans to further expand our programme of concerts and recitals which are being held in an ever growing number of the historical and beautiful houses and castles situated in the special area of conservation of outstanding natural beauty which is the Blackwater valley. This year there will be concerts, recitals and singing in Cappoquin House, Tourin, Fort William and Salterbridge House, together with a wonderful violin performance by the remarkably talented young Irish violinist Patrick Rafter sponsored by the Royal Dublin Society.
From our modest beginnings we have now formed a strong framework for the future and having established a Friends Programme, solid corporate sponsorship and a renewed standing with the Arts funding bodies in Ireland, we now feel ready for the next five years and hope to broaden our reach and increase the number of productions we offer our supporters and audience.
The partnership of private and public funding coming together is always an exciting opportunity where one underpins the other giving all concerned extra value for their contributions. It shows that there is a market as well as a need for such artistic endeavours – without which our lives would be as dull as a January sky.
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