Tag Archives: Buxton Festival

Lucio Silla, Buxton Festival, BIF, July 2017

In true eighteenth century operatic fashion this presents a conflict between power and love, embodied in Lucio Silla (Lucius Cornelius Sulla) a Roman Consul and dictator during the early first century BC. The plot centres on the faithful love between Giunia and Cecilio, despite Silla’s attempts to win Giunia for himself. Lucio Cinna (Lucius Cornelius …

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Albert Herring, Buxton Festival, July 2017

Its narrow-minded Suffolk village setting makes Benjamin Britten’s only comic opera something of a counterpoint to his Peter Grimes from two years earlier. The plot is based on a Guy de Maupassant short story where the absence of a suitable girl as Rose Queen prompts the village matriarch to crown a Rose King, who then …

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Macbeth, Buxton Festival, July 2017

Last year the Buxton Festival put on a very successful Leonora, rather than its later version Fidelio, and this year sees the original 1847 version of Verdi’s Macbeth. Its directness and freshness are illuminated by Elijah Moshinsky’s minimal, darkly-lit, and very effective staging with excellent movement conveying the powers of hell embodied in the witches, …

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I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Buxton Opera Festival, July 2016

After Bellini’s unexpected failure with his 1829 opera Zaira, based on Voltaire’s tragedy from a century earlier, the following year saw a new opportunity with an opera for the 1830 Carnival season in Venice. Unfortunately he had but a month and a half to prepare it, so his librettist Felice Romani rewrote an earlier text …

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Leonore, Buxton Opera Festival, July 2016

As an opera composer the 34-year old Beethoven was not a natural and his 1805 Leonore caused him no little trouble. Its poor reception by an audience composed largely of soldiers in Napoleon’s army, who would mostly not have understood the German Singspiel, did not help and a year later he cut it from three acts …

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Lucia di Lammermoor, Buxton Festival, July 2015

This interestingly minimalist production by theatre director Stephen Unwin sets the story in the 1940s with mafia overtones, particularly notable in the figure of Enrico’s retainer Normanno (Richard Roberts) a sleazy chain-smoker, tie-less and wearing a hat indoors even during the Act II wedding scene. ‘Tis he who writes the forged letter from Lucia’s beloved …

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Giovanna d’Arco, Buxton Festival, July 2015

This Verdi opera, like Rossini’s William Tell, is originally based on a play by Schiller that deals with a central heroic figure who rallies people and fighting men against an occupying force. Comparing mature Rossini to early Verdi one might expect the Rossini to win easily, yet by contrast with the Royal Opera’s current clunky …

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Orfeo ed Euridice, Buxton Opera Festival, July 2014

For Gluck’s tercentenary Buxton has produced his Orfeo ed Euridice (the 1762 Italian version) to counterbalance Dvořak’s delightful Jacobin. It is a good match: Dvořak was a Czech composer, but so in a sense was Gluck, who was brought up in Bohemia and studied mathematics and logic at the University of Prague. This opera was a …

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The Jacobin, Buxton Opera Festival, July 2014

The Jacobins were the hard-core French revolutionaries who inspired the Reign of Terror, and in this Dvořak opera the Count has been persuaded that his son Bohuš has become a Jacobin. Correcting this calumny and persuading the Count he has been misled appears to recede into the distance towards the end … yet suddenly the …

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