Every July for the last forty years, audiences from all over the world have gathered outside Buxton’s intimate Edwardian opera house to enjoy a festival of opera. Buxton International Festival has carved out a reputation as a haven for rarely performed operas and the Frank Matcham theatre has proven to be the ideal venue for these explorations. The Festival holds a unique position in the pantheon of Summer Opera Festivals in the United Kingdom, in that it presents a Music series and Book festival alongside the opera season. We have been fortunate to attract some of Britain’s best musicians and opinion-forming authors to Buxton to participate in our annual celebration of the arts.
I am committed to continuing this much-loved tradition and building upon the partnerships that make the festival possible. The history of the Buxton Opera House and the Festival are inextricably intertwined, but we have never mounted a production together. Next year we have committed to jointly mounting a musical which will be a welcome addition to the usual season of opera. This variety of programming provides wonderful opportunities for artists in our Young Artists and Young Instrumentalist Programme, which lies at the heart of the company we put together every year.
Commissioning new works is another commitment Adrian and I have made to ensure that the Festival keeps looking forward. We began with the creation of a pasticcio, Georgiana, based on the life of the fifth Duchess of Devonshire and were delighted when the production won the UK Theatre Award for Opera in 2019. We commissioned Kate Whitley and Laura Attridge to create an opera oratorio about climate change, Our Future In Your Hands, for our 2020 Festival. Unfortunately, Covid-19 forced us to cancel the Festival and the premier of this work, but we hope to mount the production at the 2021 Festival.
Paul Kerryson, CEO of the Buxton Opera House, and I share a vision to expand the community engagement and Learning and Participation programmes of both our organisations. We are planning to provide a platform for young people throughout Derbyshire and the UK to create, perform, and learn more about the performing arts. Artistically led and community driven, our initiative will provide greater participation in the experience of live performance and support the creation of new works for the next generation.
Plans for our 2021 Festival are well advanced and we hope to reunite with all of our loyal supporters next summer on the sunny piazza outside the Buxton Opera House for another season of opera, music and books.
Chief Executive Officer