Buxton International Festival in top music 50 alongside Glastonbury

Buxton has been put on the map as one of the top 50 venues for music worldwide.
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Buxton International Festival (BIF) was chosen alongside Glastonbury, Womad and events in Spain, France and the USA’s Coachella by The Times newspaper in its round-up of the best places to experience live music in 2023.

BIF’s line-up was described as “tip-top”, with opera at its heart as well as jazz, concerts, literary events and a new musical set to classic songs by Ivor Novello.

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Legendary artists such as R and B star Geno Washington, jazz master Wynton Marsalis and classical maestros including Nicola Benedetti complete the wide spectrum of musical styles.

Madeline BellMadeline Bell
Madeline Bell

“Being in this top 50 demonstrates the strength and depth of BIF’s reach,” said Chief Executive Michael Williams.

“We are bringing a selection of the best global talent while attracting visitors from around the world to our wonderful town and its tourism economy.”

BIF was founded more than 40 years ago as a way to bring opera back to the town’s historic Opera House. Opera remains at the festival’s heart, and this year includes works by two masters of the art.

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Bellini’s first masterpiece, La Sonnambula, is a tale of love jealousy and innocence rewarded.

The King's SingersThe King's Singers
The King's Singers
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“While the story is very gentle, the music is sublime and showcases the art of operatic singing at its finest,” said Artistic Director Adrian Kelly.

Mozart was only 19 when he wrote Il re Pastore, which will feature the Buxton debut of Jack Furness, one of Britain’s most exciting young opera directors.

Closer to home is The Land of Might-Have-Been, the world premiere of a new musical by Michael Williams, Chief Executive of BIF and the man whose last opera for BIF, Georgiana, won a UK Theatre UK Theatre Award for Achievement in 2019. The musical is based on the life of Vera Brittain, author of the anti-war classic novel Testament of Youth and mother of the late Shirley Williams, who helped to form the Social Democratic Party.

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Featuring the songs of Ivor Novello, The Land of Might-Have-Been is set in Buxton just before the First World War when Vera Brittain lived in Buxton amongst the gilded youth of the era, many of whose idyllic lives were about to be sacrificed in the trenches.

The English Concert in St John's ChurchThe English Concert in St John's Church
The English Concert in St John's Church

Dame Shirley J Thompson’s opera Women of the Windrush sets to music the narratives of those men and women from the West Indies who answered the UK’s call to come and help the country’s reconstruction after World Ward Two. Archive film helps to tell the stories of the nurses, pianists new brides who swapped their Caribbean home for the grey landscape of post-war Britain.

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BIF’s usual high standard of concert music is maintained with performances of Shostakovich by The Paddington Trio, Beethoven by the Sacconi String Quartet and Mendelssohn with the Sitkovesky Trio among many, many more.

In addition to music, BIF’s book programme tackles economics, politics and the issues of the day with famous names such as Alastair Campbell,

BIF runs from July 6 to 23, and to find out more, go to buxtonfestival.co.uk