Wednesday 29 January 2014

Buxton Festival Highlights

Gloria: A Pig Tale - credit Johan Persson
The Buxton Festival has released a highlights video with bits of last year's festival to tempt us into returning this year; not that people should need much tempting given the delights on offer in 2014. You can see the video after the break in this article, but to tempt you further I thought I'd detail some of the delights on offer this year.

Operatically it is quite an interesting year with the festival's own productions of Dvorak's woefully underrated The Jacobin (directed by Stephen Unwin, conducted by Stephen Barlow with a cast including Matthew Best, Anne Sophie Duprels, Nicholas Folwell, Bonaventura Bottone and Anna Patalong) and Gluck's ever wonderful but very tricky to stage Orfeo ed Euridice (directed by Stephen Medcalf, conducted by Stuart Stratford with Michael Chance in the title role and Barbara Bargnesi as Euridice).

They are also doing three concert performances of Rossini's Otello, a quite wonderful opera even though the first two acts bear no resemblance to Shakespeare. Buxton are performing the Malbran version, in which the title role is sung by a woman so we get to hear Sara Fulgoni as Otello with Nicky Spence as Iago and Kate Ladner as Desdemona, conducted by Stephen Barlow. No announcement has been made yet regarding the casting of the fiendish coloratura tenor role of Rodrigo. For all three operas we have the Northern Chamber Orchestra in the pit.

The opening night of the festival is a gala in which Stephen Barlow and the Northern Chamber Orchestra accompany Susan Bullock and Richard Berkeley-Steele. Supplementing these is HK Gruber's Gloria: A Pig Tale from the newly formed Mahogany Opera Group (directed by Frederic Wake Walker, conducted by Geoffrey Patterson and with a cast including Gillian Keith).

In addition to these there is an extensive programme of concerts including appearances from La Serenissima, Rosalind Plowright and Philip Mountford, (Rosalind Plowright also gives a masterclass), the Huddersfield Choral Society, Halle Soloists, 4 Girls, 4 Harps, the Schubert Ensemble, Roderick Williams and Gary Matthewman, Psapphaa, and the Northern Chamber Orchestra. The Literary Series will include appearances from John Julius Norwich, Jonathan Aitken, Clive Aslet, Peter Snow, Antonia Fraser, Sara Raven, Gyles Brandreth, Simon Jenkins, Shirley Williams, Simojn Heffer, Kate Adie, James Naughty, Emma Bridgewater, Max Hastings, Margaret Drabble and Kirsty Walk. That really is something for everyone.

The concerts and literary events generally take place during the day (though there are a couple of evening events), which rather helpfully means that you can combine them with the evening's opera.

Further information from the Buxton Festival website.

Elsewhere on this blog:

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