Festival is a success

Gillian Keith in Mignon at Buxton Festival 2011.
Gillian Keith in Mignon at Buxton Festival 2011.

The 33rd Buxton Festival drew to a close on July 27 after 19 packed days of opera, literary talks, music, walks and community projects, attracting an audience of more than 40,000 to Buxton.

Stars including Joanna Lumley, Alan Titchmarsh and Melvyn Bragg graced the town and the sun shone for most of the event.

With record ticket sales showing an increase on last year and with more than 3000 Friends of Buxton Festival spread all over the country, the Festival organisers feel they are clearly on the right track.

Excellent national reviews included five stars from the Financial Times for Mignon, four stars from The Times for Maria di Rohan and four stars from The Telegraph for Saul. The Financial Times described the festival as ‘the most relaxing and the least pretentious’ of all the UK’s summer opera venues.

The popular and growing literary series saw many sold out talks and additional events added to meet demand. Audiences queued across the Opera House forecourt to meet Festival favourites Melvyn Bragg and Matthew Parris and have their books signed.

Glyn Foley, Buxton Festival’s chief executive said: “We’re really pleased that so many people enjoyed this year’s festival. While it’s thrilling to receive excellent reviews from the national critics, to see positive reactions first-hand from Festival visitors and local audiences is very special.”

Festival staff are now working away at next year’s festival, which will run from July 7-25. The eagerly-awaited line-up includes Handel’s Jeptha, conducted by Harry Christophers, Intermezzo by Strauss and a double bill featuring The Maiden in the Tower by Sibelius and Kashchey the Immortal by Rimsky-Korsakov.

The 2012 Festival is the first to involve Stephen Barlow as artistic director. Stephen is an inspirational and experienced opera conductor, and also a distinguished pianist and composer. His recent compositions include an opera King in Canterbury Cathedral and a children’s composition Rainbow Bear in collaboration with his wife‚ Joanna Lumley‚ as narrator.

To keep up to date on Festival information for next year visit www.buxtonfestival.co.uk.