Buxton International Festival has brought together a stunning line-up of some of the world’s most glorious music performed by a glittering array of talent, at the launch of its annual feast of opera, music and books heard on Monday.
The Festival’s praises have already been sung by The Sunday Times which put Buxton in its top 100 places to live, Festival Board Chairman Felicity Goodey told the launch party on the Buxton Opera House stage.
“They describe it as the place for lovers of countryside and culture, and loudly sing praises both for this glorious opera house and the annual International Festival which we are here to launch,” she said.
“This is our 39th year and we have once again a stunning line-up of some of the world’s most glorious music performed by a glittering array of talent; a diverse and entertaining collection of authors and quite a lot of new delights.”
Felicity highlighted a year of change and renewal, and looked forward to the imminent arrival of the new Chief Executive, Michael Williams, who is currently Managing Director of the renowned Cape Town Opera company which regularly tours around the world.
Michael’s reputation for innovation and spectacular events, like staging Fidelio in the prison yard of Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he spent in prison, promises exciting times ahead, she said.
And to explain a year of remarkable change in British public life which began with the Brexit vote, the Festival has started a new partnership with the British Academy in which Lord Peter Hennessey – celebrated broadcaster, constitutional expert and historian is curating a series of debates on the big issues with some of the most distinguished writers and commentators of the day.
“Another innovation this year is the Spiegeltent,” she said. “It’s a huge and rather gorgeous marquee, a glorious confection of mirrors and colour guaranteed to bring a smile to all age groups. Inside, we’ll have jazz, poetry and a range of other delights to appeal to all comers.
Britain’s favourite opera star Lesley Garrett will raise the curtain on the Festival by hosting a gala night featuring some of the most memorable songs from the worlds of opera, operetta and musical theatre. Lesley will compere the evening of music from the Northern Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Kok with soloists from Opera North, as well singing a number of songs herself.
Fundraising remains essential to the future of the Festival: “We are more fortunate than many in having a large, dedicated band of Friends, Patrons and supporters whose donations and events provide so much of our income.
“I would like to say an especial thank you to all of them; the Buxton international Festival not only relies on the money you raise but benefits hugely from the enthusiasm, ideas, energy and volunteering you bring with you.”
Hell’s Angels, opera and The Beatles
Hell’s Angels, rare opera and The Beatles as you’ve never heard them before are coming to town for this year’s Buxton International Festival.
Buxton has a global reputation for presenting hidden gems from the opera world alongside a wide range of musical styles which will include a Day of Quartets, piano recitals and jazz.
Artistic Director Stephen Barlow said: “It’s like a lucky dip in which every pick is a prize.”
The Hell’s Angels ride into town for a hugely popular modern version of Donizetti’s The Daughter of The Regiment, which moves the action from a military base to a biker gang camp in a co-production with Opera della Luna.
Musical concerts will include songs by the ever-popular baritone Roderick Williams, the dazzling Suite Americana among other pieces from London Metropolitan Brass and baroque music on the original instruments from The English Concert.
Derbyshire’s own violinist Lizzie Ball joins Morgan Szymanski on guitar to present the life, times and art of the enigmatic painter Frida Kahlo in words and music.
The late Dudley Moore is most famous as a comedian and Hollywood star, but his first love was the piano, and The Chris Ingham Quartet return to Buxton explore to explore his jazz legacy in a loving and humorous tribute.
And big-band jazz explores on stage with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, a showcase of the UK’s finest young professionals.
Buxton brings history up-to-date
A history of Britain told through the lives of 21 women who helped to shape it is one of the books featured in the Festival.
BBC Women’s Hour host Jenni Murray focuses on the famous queens, unrecognised visionaries, great artists and trailblazing politicians who all pushed back boundaries and revolutionised our world.
Bringing the past up-to-date is one of the themes of the Book Series, and includes a reunion by members of TV’s Time Team in Tony Robinson and Friends Dig Up the Past.
Tony and some of the archaeologist who made the iconic Channel Four programme meet on the Opera House stage to talk about how a television programme set in a hole in the ground turned the nation on to ancient history.
The festival takes place 6th – 22nd July 2018 at Buxton Opera House and Pavilion Arts Centre in Buxton. Tickets are now available to book online.
For the complete programme go to the Festival website at www.buxtonfestival.co.uk