Buxton International Festival is one of the UK’s leading arts events taking place in July each year; a cultural celebration of the very best opera, music and literature taking place in the beautiful Peak District. The Festival features the most promising rising stars in the arts world, as well as prominent international singers, artists and literary figures performing in a packed summer programme of in excess of 120 events over a 17-day period to an audience of over 30,000.
The Festival produces three operas alongside a series of concerts given by many leading British and international musicians, and a literary series featuring leading writers and thinkers. Festival venues include the exquisite Matcham-designed Buxton Opera House, St John’s Church and the Pavilion Arts Centre. Together with the Buxton Festival Fringe, the spa town is a haven for arts enthusiasts throughout July each year. The Festival also presents an annual autumn Book Weekend and Outreach Programme.
It has been presented annually since 1979. The brainchild of Malcolm Fraser, the Head of Opera at the Royal Northern College of Music, who had a vision of making the dilapidated Buxton Opera House, which had been used as a cinema for most of its life, into the home of an annual opera festival. With the help of Welsh National Opera conductor, Anthony Hose, he set about making his dream a reality. The Artistic Director is the acclaimed conductor, Stephen Barlow.
Buxton International Festival of Opera, Music and Literature 2018
The 2018 Buxton International Festival will take place from 6th to 22nd July 2018. See the listing below for what’s on when.
OPENING NIGHT GALA
The Festival will open with a Gala evening presented in association with the Buxton Opera house and Opera North. Patron of the Festival’s 40th Anniversary Appeal, Lesley Garrett, soloists from Opera North and the Northern Chamber Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Kok, will present a programme of music from the world of operetta, classic musicals and cabaret. The evening will take the audience from Berlin to Broadway and include music by Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Leonard Bernstein and Kurt Weill, celebrating the opening of the 39th Buxton International Festival in style.
ALZIRA by Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901)
Verdi’s Alzira completes our trilogy of Verdi titles (following Giovanna d’Arco in 2015 and Macbeth this year), conducted by the Festival’s Artistic Director Stephen Barlow, and directed by internationally renowned Elijah Moshinsky. Based on Voltaire’s play Alzire, ou les Américains, it is set in 16th century Peru, where the love affair between two Peruvian natives, Zamoro and Alzira, is set against a fight for independence by the tribesmen against the Spanish rule of the conquistadors. Described by The New Grove Guide to Verdi and His Operas as ‘an opera decisively ahead of its time’, Alzira finds Verdi experimenting with a realist style that makes it ripe for revival.
IDOMENEO by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91
Mozart’s Idomeneo, King of Crete was the 25-year-old Mozart’s thirteenth opera and marks his maturity as a dramatic composer. In the aftermath of the Trojan War, King Idomeneo seeks to avoid a terrible destiny for his son, Idamante, by ordering the sacrifice of Ilya, a refugee princess and the daughter of his enemy, not realising she and his son are in love. In a plot that plunges the characters (and the audience) into extreme emotional states, Idomeneo features some of Mozart’s most varied and inventive music.
For all the Opera dates click here.
Buxton International Festival has chamber music at its heart and recitals of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and particularly Schubert, feature each year. The Fitzwilliam and Consone Quartets both make a welcome return to the Festival, together with a special full day of concerts by the Fibonacci Sequence
The 16-day Music Series at Buxton International Festival 2018 is a dynamic programme of classical artists including pianists Christian Blackshaw, Joanna MacGregor and Stephen Kovacevich, flautist Ashley Solomon, violinist Lizzie Ball.
Horn and piano duo Alexei Watkins and BBC Young Composer of the Year Alex Woolf perform at the Festival for the first time
The Festival is delighted to have engaged a selection of up and coming singers in classical music including BBC New Generation Artists Kathryn Rudge and Ashley Riches, Jennifer Davis, together with established names including Roderick Williams and Lucy Schaufer
To see all the dates for the music click here.
Details of the Books Series will be released in Spring 2018. For the first time, Buxton International Festival will partner with the British Academy to revive the spirit of the revolutionary Georgian Coffee House, the social network of its day. The series will be curated by Peter Hennessy and will feature a dynamic mix of speakers brought together with the Buxton audience to explore how we look at history and ourselves
To see all the book dates click here.
For more information on the festival and to book tickets go to www.buxtonfestival.co.uk
In April, 2017 Buxton International Festival was named as one of 2017’s top 50 must-see events around the globe by music critics at The Times. To read more about this click here.