Buxton Festival

Buxton Festival

The Buxton Festival is an annual summer festival of opera, music, and (since 2000) a literary series, held in Buxton, Derbyshire in England since it began in July 1979.


The origins of the Festival date back to 1936 when an annual drama festival was held until 1942 in conjunction with the London-based Old Vic Theatre Company. During the early 1970s, it was best known as one of the UK's most prominent Rock Festivals, with most major rock bands of the day appearing, including Mott The Hoople, The Faces, Lindisfarne, Canned Heat, Chuck Berry, Nazareth, Edgar Broughton Band, Groundhogs, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Medicine Head, Brewers Droop, Roy Wood and Wizzard. During July 2007, it was the subject of several features on Jeff Cooper (broadcaster)'s 'Cooper Collection' show on 106.6 Smooth Radio, whose transmission area includes much of Derbyshire

Inspired by the restoration of the Buxton Opera House, a classic Frank Matcham building, Malcolm Fraser (then lecturing in opera at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester), saw its potential as venue for an opera festival, and he spent three years planning the first one while restoration was underway. The restored Buxton Opera House was the venue for the first Buxton Festival in 1979 with presentations of "Lucia di Lammermoor" (in its first ever complete performance in Britain), followed by Peter Maxwell DaviesThe Two Fiddlers.

Productions and performers

From these first successes, the Festival has made a significant impact on the operatic culture of Britain with new productions of rarely-performed operas (such as Britten’s "Let’s Make an Opera" (1980); Domenico Cimarosa’s "Il matrimonio segreto" (1981 & 1993); Kodály’s "Háry János" (in its British stage premiere in 1982); Vivaldi’s "Griselda" (1983, but not seen anywhere since its original Venice presentation in 1735); Cherubini’s Médée (1984, in its original French dialogue never seen in Britain); and, from 1986, many productions of Handel’s operas, as well as many others by Cimarosa (in 1989 it presented three).

Performers of the quality of Thomas Allen, Rosalind Plowright, Jean Rigby, Alan Opie, Nigel Kennedy, Cleo Laine, John Ogdon, Alan Bates, Dame Janet Baker, Victoria de los Angeles, and Sarah Brightman. The current resident orchestra at the festival(as of 2008) is the Northern Chamber Orchestra.

Since 2002, the Festival has presented five or six operas each summer. In 2006 it presented eight operas ranging from Mozart's early "Apollo and Hyacinth" to Dmitri Shostakovich's "The Nose", but including works by Telemann, Monteverdi, Gluck, Britten and Bizet.

The Buxton Festival Fringe

The Buxton Festival Fringe is an annual festival at the same time as the Buxton Festival. It is an annual open arts festival which runs for just over two weeks in July. The festival hosts comedy, theatre, dance, music, street performances, puppetry, film, performance art, talks and shows for children as well as other impromptu events. The festival is in its 27th year, and in 2006 hosted 117 events over 17 days; making it one of the largest fully independent Fringes in the United Kingdom, along with Brighton Fringe Festival and Edinburgh Fringe. As well as around twenty commonly used venues around the town, the Fringe includes two professionally managed venue groups at [http://www.undergroundvenues.co.uk Underground Venues] and [http://www.nicevenues.co.uk Nice Venues] .

The festival is followed by the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival. This runs for three weeks in August each year.

ee also

* List of opera festivals


* [http://www.theatreworks.org.uk/opportunities_details.asp?id=353 TheatreWorks - Buxton Festival Fringe]
* [http://www.artsderbyshire.org.uk/whats_on/events/buxton_festival_fringe.html Arts Derbyshire - Buxton Festival Fringe]

External links

* [http://buxton.uk.net/buxtonfestival.htm Buxton Festival 2007 Information]
* [http://www.buxtonfestival.co.uk/ Buxton Festival website]
* [http://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk Buxton Fringe official website]
* [http://www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/festivals/buxton-festival-fringe Buxton Opera House]

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