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Operatic Whisky
A symphonic festival of natural flavour
April 6, 2023 | ELEMENT: air, spirit | editorial | 5 minute read

We don’t do many partnerships, but when we do, they’re something appropriately dramatic.

With that in mind, we’re delighted to announce our involvement as drinks partners for one of Ireland’s leading arts festivals, Blackwater Valley Opera Festival. 

With a good few years of distilling behind us, a pleasingly-growing roster of award-winning natural single malt whiskies, and a freshly invigorated connection with the local scene through our successful distillery tours, the time felt ripe for a partnership with an Irish institution. And we couldn’t be happier that it’s the prestigious Blackwater Valley Opera Festival arts organisation.

Festival Director Eamonn Carroll said, “It is my pleasure to announce that Blackwater Valley Opera Festival has teamed up with Waterford Whisky as Hospitality Partner for 2023.  This partnership reflects our joint approach to supporting Irish industry and the arts, encouraging, and nurturing young artists to break into opera and the performing arts, both at home and internationally.” He added, “The Waterford Whisky brand delivers a story which echoes with our festival heritage, firmly rooted in the soil of the Deise and Ireland’s Ancient East.”

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival is a one of a kind, friendly, inclusive, world renowned opera and classical music experience. With more than 4,500 visitors expected to enjoy the many classical music and opera performances, the festival will welcome 103 artists and 98 volunteers, present 65+ hours of music, deliver education outreach to an estimated 2,500 local students, and be supported by 100 Friends of BVOF and 25 sponsors, funders, and partners.   

Soprano, Abigail LaDuke, pictured with Patrick Howett (BVOF Board Member) and Ned Gahan (Head Distiller, Waterford Whisky) at the announcement of Waterford Whisky’s partnership with Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.
Soprano, Abigail LaDuke, pictured with Patrick Howett (BVOF Board Member) with Waterford Whisky team: Megan Kiely, Paul McCusker, and Ned Gahan (Head Distiller) at the announcement of Waterford Whisky’s partnership with Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.

Commenting, Brian O’Flynn, Head of Ireland’s Ancient East said, “This spectacular arts and culture summer opera festival has developed its own distinctive voice within the opera and classical music world, bringing fresh vision and focus to Waterford tourism and Ireland’s Ancient East.”

From big tickets to free tickets – Ireland’s Summer Opera Festival will see 21 festival events taking place at 12 venues over eight days, from 29 May – 5 June 2023.

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival was honoured to be nominated in three categories at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards 2023 for Orfeo ed Euridice in 2022, with David Bolger winning Best Movement Direction for the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival production of Orfeo ed Euridice and Go to Blazes with Coiscéim Dance.  

Soprano, Abigail LaDuke, pictured at the announcement of Waterford Whisky’s partnership with Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.
Soprano, Abigail LaDuke, pictured at the announcement of Waterford Whisky’s partnership with Blackwater Valley Opera Festival.

Head Distiller Ned said, “We’re very pleased to be the drinks partners of what has become an iconic event, leaving its mark on the opera scene and enhancing. Not only are the kinds of visitors to the opera our kind of drinkers – curious and open minded. But we’ve been quietly making whisky for so long that we felt it the right time to let people know that there’s a distillery here that’s been making headlines around the world.” He added “We’ve got plenty of naturally flavoursome whisky to share with opera lovers. Hopefully folk might even think my voice is good enough for the stage — as an extra at least…”

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival was honoured to be nominated in three categories at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards 2023 for Orfeo ed Euridice in 2022, with David Bolger winning Best Movement Direction for the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival production of Orfeo ed Euridice and Go to Blazes with Coiscéim Dance.  

For opera, classical music recitals and concerts, free events and open-air lunchtime recitals, dining experiences and more, head to the Festival’s website.

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