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Buxton Festival

Buxton Opera House in Derbyshire, UK, was designed by Matcham and opened in 1903, but by 1932 it was used mostly as a cinema. From 1936 until 1942 the building hosted an annual summer theatre festival with the Old Vic Theatre Company, but then continued its role as a cinema, and gradually lapsed into dilapidation.

In 1976 Malcolm Fraser, then lecturer in opera studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, visited the building and realised its potential as the venue for an opera festival. During the next three years he spent much time and energy creating what we now know as the Buxton Festival.

The opera house reopened after two years of renovation work on 30 July 1979, the first night of the first Buxton Festival. This first festival featured the first ever complete performance in Britain of Lucia di Lammermoor and Peter Maxwell Davies' opera The Two Fiddlers. Over the years since then, the festival has become known for first productions, unusual and rarely performed opera, and an artistic policy of centering its productions on a common theme or themes.

VISIT THE BUXTON FESTIVAL WEBSITE

A selection of M&V articles about Buxton Festival

Ensemble. Jaw-droppingly Compelling - A Sciarrino and Maxwell Davies double bill from Music Theatre Wales, by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Beautifully Judged - Ravel for piano duet, heard by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Terrific Energy - A short double bill from Buxton's Young Artists programme, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Fresh Insights - Paul Kildea discusses work on his recent book about Britten, heard by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Typically Convoluted - Mike Wheeler returns to Buxton for Vivaldi's 'Ottone in Villa'

Ensemble. Enjoyably Daft - Mike Wheeler experiences Mozart's 'La Finta Giardiniera' at Buxton

Ensemble. Colourful Treatment - French comedies launch the Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. An Interesting Production - Britten's 'The Turn of the Screw', reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Thrilling Singing - A Sibelius and Rimsky-Korsakov double bill, experienced by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Less is More - Handel's 'Jephtha' at Buxton, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. First-class Second-rate Strauss - Mike Wheeler visits the Buxton Festival

Ensemble. Dark Lyricism - Mark-Anthony Turnage's 'Greek' at the Buxton Festival, heard by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Emotional Awakening - More from the Buxton Festival, with Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. The Passing of Time - Donizetti's 'Maria di Rohan' at the Buxton Festival impresses Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Profoundly Satisfying - Cherubini's 'Medée', reviewed by Robert Hugill

Ensemble. Real Poise - Sinfonia Viva at the Buxton Festival, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Limpid Clarity - 'The Barber of Baghdad' by Peter Cornelius, experienced by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Family Life - A Bernstein double bill at Buxton, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. A Small Masterpiece - Richard Rodney Bennett's 'All the King's Men' impresses Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Political Overtones - George Benjamin's 'Into the Little Hill', reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Terrific Pace and Direction - Verdi's 'Luisa Miller' at the Buxton Festival, recommended by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Total Confidence - Sinfonia Viva's summer schools project, 'Floratorio', reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Compelling Performance - Members of Psappha at the Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. A Slow-burn Approach - 'The Lighthouse' by Peter Maxwell Davies, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Grippingly-staged - Mike Wheeler is delighted to be surprised by Donizetti's 'Lucrezia Borgia'

Ensemble. Buoyant and Fresh - André Messager's 'Véronique' delights Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Full Rein - Sinfonia Viva at the Buxton Festival, heard by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Off the Wall - Contemporary opera at the Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Pace and Wit - Albert Lortzing's 'Der Wildschütz', reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Propulsive Energy - Sinfonia Viva at the Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Beautifully Judged - Mike Wheeler makes a final visit to the Buxton Festival for Mozart's 'The Marriage of Figaro'

Ensemble. Capturing the Essence - Mike Wheeler returns to the Buxton Festival to hear members of Sinfonia Viva

Ensemble. Uniformly Strong - Tobias and the Angel, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. Nimbleness and Warmth - The Armonico Consort at the Buxton Festival, reviewed by Mike Wheeler

Ensemble. A Surreal Evening - Mike Wheeler reports from the Buxton Festival

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