Buxton Festival Fringe: Experience thrill of the opera with dose of family fun

Opera North's youth chorus. Photo: Justin Slee.
Opera North's youth chorus. Photo: Justin Slee.

There’s a chance for all the family to experience the thrill of the opera at this year’s Buxton Festival Fringe.

Opera North Youth Company are heading to Derbyshire to perform Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow, a musical version of Hilaire Belloc’s classic Cautionary Tales.

The Opera North Youth Chorus performing Opera Bingo. Photo: Brian Slater.

The Opera North Youth Chorus performing Opera Bingo. Photo: Brian Slater.

The Opera North Youth Company comprises young singers and aspiring orchestral players from in and around Leeds. It grew out of the Opera North Youth Chorus, a group of 14 to 19-year-olds who meet weekly at Opera North, one of Europe’s leading arts organisations, to explore their creativity and gain practical experience in music, singing, drama, composition and direction under the guidance of professional artists.

For this occasion, they have been joined by a more recently formed ensemble of young musicians who have been honing their skills on their chosen instruments under the guidance of highly experienced tutors and members of the Orchestra of Opera North.

The Youth Company will perform Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow at 5pm in The Pavilion Theatre on Sunday July 16.

Written by composer Stephen Deazley, the one act opera follows Dr Ferret and his Sweetheart as they set out to discover just how mischievous today’s children really are.

As the couple’s adventure unfolds, the doctor tells the curious story of Matilda whose compulsive lies led to a terrible fire, Henry King who ate too much string, Jim who had a rather unfortunate encounter with a lion, and George, a small boy who manages to create a large amount of trouble.

Jacqui Cameron, Opera North Education Director, said: "We’re delighted to be performing at such a highly-regarded festival as the Buxton Fringe.

"At Opera North, we aim to give young people as many opportunities as possible to become involved with music whether they prefer singing or playing an instrument - and to broaden their musical horizons by arranging performances not only in their home city but throughout the UK and overseas.

“By doing so, we hope to create lifelong memories and to inspire a lasting love of music among all the young people who take part.”

Tickets for the Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow performance in the Pavilion Theatre are available for £8 per person at buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/event/dr-ferrets-bad-medicine-roadshow. The performance is suitable for ages 8+ and lasts around an hour.