Buxton International Festival announces line-up for 2023

Buxton International Festival

Buxton International Festival have today announced its striking line-up for 2023 featuring opera, jazz, music and books between from 6th and 23rd July. Next summer’s festival includes a brand-new musical based on the early life Buxton’s pioneering feminist Vera Brittain, The Land Of Might-Have-Been. Three brand new opera productions will feature – Bellini’s La sonnambula, Handel’s Orlando and Mozart’s Il re pastore. The ever popular jazz line-up including nine time Grammy award winner  Wynton Marsalis, Tom Seals and Shez Raja; a concerts’ programme which includes Nicola Benedetti and The King’s Singers; and books guests to include Sir David Hare, Isabella Tree, Gary Younge and many more.

Commenting Adrian Kelly, BIF’s artistic director said: “Buxton International Festival has firmly established itself in the cultural calendar.  It’s an unapologetically ambitious, creative and accessible festival that takes risks and entertains. 2023 will be no different – bold, brave and back in full technicolour.”

CEO Michael Williams adds: “I don’t think there are many festivals as flexible and thrilling as Buxton.  Last year saw us fill the opera house with audiences ready to hear the politicians and thinkers of the hour and that same house was filled with five-star opera and a critically acclaimed musical by evening.  Our jazz programme was a triumph and this year it has bells on with Wynton Marsalis amongst our guests.  We reach for the stars at Buxton, make no mistake.”

New musical takes on intriguing early life of Vera Brittain

Buxton International Festival and Norwich Theatre launch a ground-breaking new co-production for 2023, ‘The Land Of Might-Have-Been’.  This bold new musical is built around the songs of Ivor Novello and is loosely based on incidents in the early life of Buxton’s pioneering feminist and pacifist Vera Brittain and the intriguing lives, loves and motivations of those closest to her.

The Land Of Might-Have-Been, with book and lyrics by Michael Williams, follows on from the success of another Buxton-inspired triumph, Williams’ award-winning opera, Georgiana.  It will be directed by Kimberley Sykes, conducted by Iwan Davies, designed by Nicky Shaw with the music of Ivor Novello, including such lovely songs as My Dearest Dear, Waltz of My Heart, My Life Belongs To you and Why Is There Ever Goodbye, arranged with additional composition by Iain Farrington.


Opera highlights at this year’s festival include two Buxton International Festival productions conducted by Adrian Kelly – Vincenzo Bellini’s La sonnambula (The Sleepwalker), an opera semi-seria in two acts, plus Mozart’s Il re pastore (The Shepherd King) which he wrote when he was only 19.  In addition, there will be Handel’s baroque opera seria Orlando performed by Liberata Collective and Ensemble Hesperi directed by Adrian Butterfield.

Popular Jazz Weekend packages back for 2023

Due to popular demand, the ‘Jazz Weekender’ ticket returns for the opening weekend of the festival (7-10 July). Nine-time Grammy award-winner Wynton Marsalis tops the billing, performing with a band of his friends in Buxton Opera House on 10 July, their only appearance in Europe next year. Other jazz highlights include:

  • Super Big Tramp Band will perform the music of Supertramp with an 18 piece big band fronted by chief soloist John Helliwell.
  • Tom Seals brings his sextet to Buxton, fresh from his Sky Arts show and sell out gigs at Birdland, Ronnie Scott’s and Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
  • Shez Raja is the hottest bass player around leading his own band


Buxton leads the way in conversation and debate with its line -up of authors, commentators and politicians.  2023 guests include the  English playwright, screenwriter, theatre and film director Sir David Hare and Guardian columnist, Polly Toynbee.

Festival Timeline

Priority Booking for The Land Of Might-Have-Been and the Jazz Weekender opens on 21 November 2022. The full programme and festival brochure will be issued in March, with Priority Booking from 7 March 2023 and Public Booking on 4 April 2023.

Find out more on their website at buxtonfestival.co.uk

Buxton International Festival, 3 The Square, Buxton, SK17 6AZ

T: 01298 72190 Box Office / 01298 70395 Festival Office

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