All-star cast revealed for Buxton International Festival opener A Little Night Music at the opera house

Excitement is building to a crescendo at the opera bouse following the announcement of the full cast of a much anticipated production which will kick off Buxton International Festival next month.

The cast of A Little Night Music will give their first performance on the festival’s opening night, Thursday, July 8, as audiences return to the auditorium for the first time since lockdown.

Buxton Opera House chief executive Paul Kerryson, who is directing the production, said: “I am thrilled that the festival and opera house are joining their considerable forces to create a new production of Stephen Sondheim's and Hugh Wheeler’s fabulous musical with such a prestigious and talented cast.”

The lead role of Desiree Armfeldt will be played by Janie Dee, who has two Olivier awards to her name, including best actress for her work in Alan Ayckbourn's play Comic Potential, which also brought her a Critics’ Circle Award and Evening Standard Award.

Buxton Opera House will welcome audiences back for the first time since lockdown with A Little Night Music on Saturday, July 8.

She has form for Sondheim material, having played Phyllis Rogers Stone in Follies at the National Theatre, and was most recently seen playing Diane in the musical Am-Dram at Leicester Curve.

The role of lawyer Fredrik Egerman will be played by David Leonard, fresh from a run playing Miss Trunchbull in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's London production of Matilda. His other previous work includes playing Robert Lyon in The Pitmen Painters at the National, and Billy Flynn in Chicago at the Curve.

Playing Frederik’s trophy wife, Anne, Daniella Sicari returns to the festival after starring as Sticks in the premiere of Allan Stephenson’s The Orphans of Koombu in 2019.

West End veteran Gabrielle Drake – the sister of famed musician Nick Drake – takes the role of Madame Armfeldt, reuniting her with the director she worked with on The White Devil and Hay Fever in Leicester.

Tickets are on sale now.

The cast is rounded out by Sarah Ingram as Countess Charlotte Malcolm, Gilbert & Sullivan Festival regular Tim Walton as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, Matthew McKinney as Egerman, Molly Lynch as Petra, and Julia Mariko Smith as Fredrika Armfeldt.

Following its opening night, performances will take place on Saturday, July 10, Thursday, July 15, and Saturday, July 24. For tickets, go to

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From left, Gabrielle Drake, Janie Dee, David Leonard.