Friday 3 July 2009

Buxton Festival

The Buxton Festival starts next week and is, as usual, full of goodies. Stephen Medcalf is directing Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia with Mary Plazas in the title role and a cast which includes Donal Maxwell and Jonathan Best. The production is conducted by Festival Director Andrew Greenwood. Plazas is one of those singers who successfully manages to combine singing in bel canto with a wider repertoire (future plans include a new opera by Eleanor Alberga)

And Giles Havergal is directing Messager's Veronique. Messager's stage works are still not often come across. Grange Park did Fortunio 9 or 10 years ago (and the Opera Comique is doing Fortunio next season); so it is all the more welcome that Buxton are giving this lovely comic opera an airing. Victoria Joyce sings the title role with a cast including Yvonne Howard , Mark Stone and Donald Maxwell, conducted by Wyn Davies.

There is a concert performance of Mendelssohn's comic opera Camacho's Wedding, with Donald Maxwell, Jonathan Best, Yvonne Howard and Victoria Joyce.

As well as the festival's own productions, there are a number of exciting visitors. The Classical Opera Company are bringing their production of Mozart's Mitridate Re di Ponto. The Opera Theatre Company are bringing Annilese Miskimmon's production of Handel's Orlando, with William Towers as Orlando and Jonathan Best as Zoroastro, conducted by Christian Curnyn. And Psappha perform Maxwell Davies The Lighthouse with James Oxley, Jonathan Best and Damian Thantrey (who created the title role in my opera Garrett).

Concerts include Voces8 in the newly reopened theatre at Chatsworth, the Sofia Orthodox Choir, the Academy of Ancient Music in an all Haydn Symphony programme, Mary Plazas and Ann Taylor in a programme of bel canto arias and a recital from Jonathan Lemalu.

The festival has grown considerably since its early days. There are now 6 operas on offer, over 40 concerts, a literary series and festival walks.

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