“Serious psychological drama and seriously good singing”. Just one of the many reviews of praise for the three operas here at Buxton Festival. This one in particular from Planet Hugill on Francis Matthews’ interpretation of Handel’s Tamerlano. The conductor of Tamerlano also received high praises for his interpretation of the music, with Dominic Lowe of Bachtrack expressing that “Laurence Cummings’ English Concert produced a supple, golden sound that managed to combine constant drama with delicacy.” Buxton Festival’s other two operas have received particularly high praise for the quality of their opera casts and chorus’. The Times newspaper has given the Festival a particularly good review of the chorus in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, conducted by Justin Doyle, “Deftly choreographed, Buxton’s chorus of 16 suggests a far greater number of soldiers and rebel forces, their movements quick, decisive and violent, their singing clean”. Similar praises for the festivals chorus were reverberated by Mark Ronan of Theatre reviews, with him writing of the “Fine singing by the chorus, with the Northern Chamber Orchestra under the superb baton of Justin Doyle fully bringing out the lyrical passion of Bellini’s music.”
Buxton Festival’s opening night opera Leonore has received some excellent praise too, with critics being thrilled by the Festival’s bold choice of opera repertoire in choosing to perform this opera as supposed to Beethoven’s Fidelio. The Telegraph were especially pleased with this choice, asserting praises for the Festivals Artistic Director. “All praise to Stephen Barlow whose conducting of the Northern Chamber Orchestra combines ferocity with warmth and grandeur.” The Guardian newspaper has given a resounding review, expressing praise at the cast’s commitment, “There’s a commitment here on the part of the Buxton singers, orchestra and chorus that is frequently impressive”. With audiences receiving committed and resounding performances, the Guardian also had high praise for soprano Kirstin Sharpin, stating that it was an “impassioned performance”.
With tickets still available, it would be a shame to miss such dedicated and passionate performances. All the operas in this year’s series have fascinating and captivating plots. There is drama, tragedy and comedy, something for everyone. Tickets are still available, but going fast. There are also tickets available for £5 for anyone under 30. As Dominic Lowe of Bachtrack expressed when writing about I Capuleti e i Montecchi, “The overall impression from this performance was that it is a well-cast, well-rehearsed and well-played production. Worth catching if at all possible.” Don’t miss out!
Oliver Gildea Festival Intern