Top opera critic bows out with praise for “greatly lovable” Buxton

Legendary arts journalist Rupert Christiansen has given Buxton International Festival a special mention in his last despatch as opera critic for the Daily Telegraph.

“I owe a shout out to the greatly lovable Buxton Festival,” he wrote in an article covering his 25 years as a critic in which he praised the “extraordinary boom in summer festivals.”

He added: “Yes, they minister to a tabloid delusion that opera is only for posh people in party mode, but I have increasing respect for the quality of their productions.”

And he described festivals such as Buxton as a brighter note in his review of the state of opera, performances of which were being seen by more people now than at any time in history.

Last year, Rupert described the award-winning Georgiana as  “excellent light entertainment that the audience lapped up,”  praising Buxton as “the pluckiest” of the country’s summer festivals, producing innovative work without the same level of financial support most others enjoy.

Born in London, Rupert is the grandson of Fleet Street giant the late Arthur Christiansen, editor of the Daily Express. Aged 12, he was taken to see his first opera, La fille du régiment at Covent Garden.

He has written for Opera magazine, The Spectator, Harper’s and QueenVanity FairThe Times Literary Supplement and Literary Review.

His books include the Somerset Maugham Award winner Romantic Affinities and I Know you’re Going to be Happy, which won the Spear’s Memoir of the Year prize in 2013.

Now he will be concentrating on writing a new book —not on opera— and administering a charity.