Clamorous harbingers of blood and death: Verdi’s Macbeth at Buxton

Buxton International Festival are currently staging Verdi’s first, 1847 Macbeth, written for the Teatro della Pergola, Florence, a theatre similar in size to the Edwardian jewel-box of Buxton’s own Opera House (just look how beautiful it is). This earlier version is a shorter, sharper work, which sees Macbeth dying on stage with one final aria to…

Fresh peaches of temptation: Britten’s Albert Herring at Buxton

July brings a flurry of festivals to the exquisite Georgian spa town: not just the opera, literature, jazz and other music of the Buxton International Festival (soon to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2019), but well dressing, a special Derbyshire tradition which can be directly traced back to the 17th century. Art meets life, then, in…

For teenage kicks: Mozart’s Lucio Silla at Buxton

Although it can’t lay claim to the emotional dexterity and acute social awareness of Mozart’s mature works, Lucio Silla is an ambitious piece which demands a great deal of its primarily soprano cast, taking as its theme the life of the Roman dictator Sulla,  though with only the most nonchalant nod to the facts of…

Gradually going flat: Lucia di Lammermoor at Buxton Opera Festival

Among the great mad scenes available to an operatic soprano, Lucia di Lammermoor is a classic. The parade of blood-stained divas staggering across stages to Donizetti’s eerie, twirling melody includes some of the greatest in history, notably Callas herself. I should also admit a personal interest in the work: the novel that inspired it, The…