Opera, jazz and book fans flood to spa town

Desdemona
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Buxton Festival opens tomorrow, featuring an array of opera, music and literature, as well as some unexpected surprises.

The opening event is a glittering Opera Gala concert of operatic highlights starring internationally-renowned soprano Susan Bullock and tenor Richard Berkeley-Steele.

Opera productions continue the festival’s tradition of reviving overlooked masterpieces.

Dvořák’s The Jacobin creates a romantic village atmosphere, with sentimental action and open-hearted lyricism, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice is considered a milestone both in Gluck’s work and in the history of opera and Rossini’s Otello is especially notable for its original and highly sympathetic portrayal of the character of Desdemona and its superb third act.

There’s also the Mahogany Opera Group’s production of HK Gruber’s Gloria – A Pigtale. a ‘cabaret opera’ performed by five ‘human sausages’ and a big band, mixing jazz, blues, Bavarian oompah, Mahler and Wagner.

Singing together for the first time, Doncaster’s own Lesley Garrett and Emma Johnson will be performing a programme for soprano voice and clarinet on Monday in the Opera House.

As part of the jazz programme, singer, pianist, composer and entertainer Joe Stilgoe is joined by singer-songwriter Natalie Williams on Saturday.

Saxophonist Alex Garnett prepares to Swing the Classics with members of the house band at Ronnie Scott’s famous club on Saturday July 19.

Clarinettist Pete Long and trumpeter/vocalist Georgina Jackson present the music of Peggy Lee, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman on Saturday July 26.

Jazz enthusiasts will also enjoy 100 years of Jazz in 99 minutes on Friday July 25 in the Pavilion Café.

Guests at the literary fesitval include best-selling novelist Jeffrey Archer, Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie and explorer Ranulph Fiennes.

Former Tory politician Archer talks about his colourful life and times on Sunday and broadcaster and writer James Naughtie talks to MP turned broadcaster Matthew Parris about politics, music and Scottish independence on Sunday July 27.

The festival’s ‘Evening With’ events in the Opera House are rounded off by explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes on the last night of the Festival, Sunday July 27. He talks to Anton Bowring about his career and time in the great frozen wildernesses of the Poles.

Buxton Fringe Festival events include comedian Andrew Watts with his show Feminism for Chaps, about his life as a stay-at-home dad.

He appears at Underground Venues, The Square from Monday to Wednesday.

Tickets and details of festival events are available online from www.buxtonfestival.co.uk.

Box office: 0845 1272190.