Buxton hits a high note with range of operas
With eight operas, including three new productions, Buxton can now boast the most successful annual opera festival in the UK.
Well stocked with familiar faces from Opera North, it opens with Verdi’s Luisa Miller, a love story that falls foul of class prejudices. Susannah Glanville sings the name role, with Andrew Slater in the part of Wurm, the instigator of her eventual death.
Cornelius’s seldom-heard gentle comedy, The Barber of Baghdad, is the other exclusive festival staging. The interfering barber who is helping the Mustapha in his quest for love causes utter confusion – the famous bass, Jonathan Lemalu plays this blundering character, with Rebecca Ryan and Michael Bracegirdle as the lovers.
A rerun of the disturbing opera by George Benjamin, Into the Little Hill; a recent completion of Mozart’s unfinished Zaide, performed with a period instrument orchestra; a concert performance of his Idomeneo with Mary Plazas and Paul Nilon in the leading roles, and Bernstein’s scene of domesticity in 1950s’ America, Trouble in Tahiti, are all essential for your diary.
To round off the feast comes Handel’s once hugely popular opera, Alcina.
Between these evening delights in the gorgeous opera house comes a whole host of highly desirable recitals, including the Leedsborn principal cellist of the London Symphony, Tim Hugh, playing Bach’s complete Cello Suites; the superb piano duo of Pascal and Ami Roge in a programme dedicated to Debussy, and a lunchtime of music by Samuel Barber that includes his mini-opera, Hand of Bridge.
Buxton Festival, Jul 7-25, 0845 1272190.