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Opera House setting for early-evening prelude to Festival

Buxton's splendid Opera House was the setting for an early-evening prelude to the 2018 Buxton International Festival, which this year runs between 6th and 22nd of July.

A well-informed audience heard Chairman, Felicity Goodey CBE DL and Artistic Director, Stephen Barlow give an overview of the forthcoming jamboree. This year marks the 39th anniversary of the Festival. Thousands of visitors are expected to make the journey from near and afar to experience the very best the world of opera, music and the wider arts has to offer. 

Felicity Goodey

The packed programme of events gets underway with an Opening Night Opera Gala featuring soloists from the Opera North Chorus and the Northern Chamber Orchestra. The evening will be compered by Lesley Garrett, Patron of the Festival's 40th Anniversary Appeal, who will also perform a number of songs herself.

Writing for The Review one finds oneself having to cover a rather diverse range of subjects. Over the last eighteen months or so I have written about helicopters working to rebuild moorland paths, the demolition of a giant textile mill and even the Longdendale Lights phenomenon. Fortunately, I know the difference between a Bell JetRanger and a Eurocopter EC135; having an interest in local history, I'm usually able to conduct some basic research before tackling those topics and I've long been fascinated by tall tales from the Woodhead Pass.

I must confess, however, that I am not particularly (as in 'at all') well-versed in the arts. I could not, in truth, name more than maybe five operas to save my life, let alone discuss their finer points. I seem to remember watching a BBC production of La Traviata once when in my early twenties (I think I was trying to impress a young lady - it didn't work) and I quite liked the music on that advert for Fiat cars, but that, I'm afraid, has been the absolute extent of my immersion into the ocean of high culture.

Stephen Barlow

While very friendly and welcoming, the highly-knowledgeable Opera House guests saw through my bluster straight away (aided, no doubt, by my belief that Giuseppe Verdi had been a defender at Fiorentina in the nineties). Rather than further dazzle the great and good of Buxton with my astonishing philistinism, I made my excuses and shuffled away.

What is obvious, even to someone as lacking in sophistication as I, is that the Festival will provide marvellous entertainment. New for 2018, the 'Spiegeltent' will play host to a fine selection of jazz players. Mass will be celebrated at St John's Church on each of the three Sundays, with the music of Mozart, Haydn and Charpentier conducted by Michael Williams and performed by singers and musicians from the Festival. 

In addition to the music, a programme of literary events is being scheduled. Full details will be released nearer to the date. The Pavilion Gardens will again support the Festival with a plethora of fairs throughout its duration. Discover what's on at  http://www.buxtonfestival.co.uk but be quick - tickets are going fast.