Buxton International Festival (4-21 July) has announced the line-up of artists for its five new opera productions this summer.

Adrian Kelly, artistic director, said: “This summer’s season contains a huge range of repertoire, and the Festival has once gone all out to assemble a formidable line-up of soloists.”

Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Ernani’,
July 6, 10, 12, 14 and 17
Buxton Opera House

Giuseppi Verdi’s Ernani is an operatic dramma lirico in four acts which tells the tragic love story of Elvira, who is caught between three men: her lover, her guardian and the King of Spain. Adrian Kelly conducts this new BIF production with The Orchestra of Opera North, directed by Jamie Manton and designed by Sami Fendall.

• Roman Arndt – Ernani
• André Heyboer – Don Carlo
• Alastair Miles – Don Ruy Gomez de Silva
• Nadine Benjamin – Elvira
• Jane Burnell – Giovanna
• Emyr Lloyd Jones – Don Riccardo
• Theo Perry – Jago

George Frideric Handel’s ‘Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno’
July 7, 11, 15 and 18
Buxton Opera House

Following the success of Acis & Galatea at Buxton in 2021, the festival joins forces with The Early Opera Company for a new production of Handel’s Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno conducted by Christian Curnyn, directed by Jacopo Spirei and designed by Anna Bonomelli.

• Anna Dennis – Bellezza (Beauty)
• Hilary Cronin – Piacere (Pleasure)
• Hilary Summers – Disinganno (Deception)

Peter Brook’s adaptation of Bizet’s ‘La Tragédie de Carmen’
July 5, 9, 13 and 16
Buxton Opera House

In its second collaboration with Norwich Theatre, BIF presents Peter Brook’s adaptation of Bizet’s La Tragédie de Carmen. Brook’s adaptation includes elements of the Georges Bizet opera as well as the original Prosper Mérimée novella on which Bizet’s opera was based. It’s conducted by Iwan Davies, directed by Katharina Kastening and designed by Bettina John.

• Niamh O’Sullivan – Carmen
• Elgan Llŷr Thomas – Don José
• Steffan Lloyd Owen – Escamillo
• Erin Rossington – Micaëla

Ethel Smyth, ‘The Boatswain’s Mate’
July 8, 14 and 19
Pavilion Arts Centre

This new BIF production, written by British composer and suffragette Ethel Smyth, centres around a humorous battle of the sexes on the seafront in Margate. It’s full of twists and turns complete with all the quintessential sounds and sights of British summertime. The opera is conducted by Rebecca Warren and directed by Nick Bond.

• Joshua Baxter – Harry Benn
• Theo Perry – Ned Travers
• Elizabeth Findon – Mrs Waters
• Richard Woodall – Policeman
• Rebecca Anderson – Mary Ann

Joseph Haydn’s ‘La canterina’
July 7, 11, 18 and 20
Pavilion Arts Centre

The last of the BIF’s new productions for 2024 is Haydn’s two-act operetta, La canterina. This comedic opera has all the ingredients for a riotous show with its stock-in-trade buffo figures: the aspiring, money-grabbing diva; her mother adept at procuring suitors; an oily, lascivious singing teacher and a wealthy young lover. The opera is conducted by Toby Hessian and directed by Lysanne Van Overbeek.

• Helen Maree Cooper – Don Ettore
• Dominic Mattos – Apollonia
• Jonah Halton – Don Pelagio
• Jane Burnell – Gasparina


The full programme and festival brochure will be issued on Monday 26 February, with Priority Booking opening on 5 March and Public Booking on 2 April 2024.

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