The show goes on as Buxton International Festival announces early line-up

Buxton International Festival has announced programme highlights for this year’s event - planned to go ahead between July 8 to July 25.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 10:19 am

Among early tips are operas The Dancing Master, Handel’s Acis and Galatea and BIF’s first ever musical - a co-production with Buxton Opera House of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.

As well as hinting at “another exciting opera announcements” organisers have lined-up violinist Jennifer Pike, concerts from Dame Sarah Connolly, Sir John Tomlinson, The English Concert, the Fitzwilliam String Quartet and Natalie Clein.

In the book series segment highlights include events on land reform, the leadership style of British Prime Ministers, slave trade reparations, and the future of Brexit Britain.

Violinist Jennifer Pike - the festival’s Artist in Residence this year. Photo: Arno

Special guests include broadcasters Andrew Marr, Iain Dale, Giles Fraser and Matthew Parris.

Bestselling authors James Rebanks, Ben MacIntyre and Max Hastings will make appearances while for history buffs historians Margaret MacMillan and Neil Oliver are expected.

Also dropping by are journalists Polly Toynbee and David Walker and scientists including palaeontologist Richard Fortey and archaeologist Rebecca Wragg Sykes.

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Mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly. Photo: Christopher Pledger

There will also be talks with policewoman Parm Sandhu, chief prosecutor Nazir Afzal and bookseller Martin Latham.

The long-awaited and much-loved festival comes after last summer’s cancellation due to the pandemic in its 40th year.

Faced with having to refund tickets as virus cases spiralled in March, event trustees asked ticket holders to convert all or part of what they had paid into a donation.

They told how culture-lovers’ generosity would help fund this year’s events - with ticket sales only covering “half of the overall costs” of the festival.

However, speaking about staging the event this year as hopes grow that restrictions will be fully-relaxed by July organisers say social distancing measures will still affect some fixtures.

With that in mind BIF’s productions of Rossini’s La donna del lago, Donizetti’s Viva la Diva, and Whitley’s Our Future in Your Hands oratorio have been postponed.

The remaining risk of virus transmission will mean reduced capacity at venues and the use of face coverings.

The festival programme will be available at the end of March and priority booking will open on April 6, followed by public booking on May 4.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.