As well as the renowned opera series featured in last month’s artsbeat Buxton Festival has also lined up an array of concert music and literary treats.
The 16-day festival has 38 concerts and recitals from world-renowned musicians and singers including internationally-celebrated pianists Stephen Kovacevic and Angela Hewitt, The Chilingirian Quartet, baritone Roderick Williams, tenor James Gilchrist, The Schubert Ensemble, pictured above, and The English Concert. The late-night concerts in the Pavilion Café also showcase the best in jazz, folk and world music.
This year’s book festival includes 43 talks by the UK’s best authors, covering topics from the railways to butterflies, trees to Bible translations, the Loch Ness Monster to Charlotte Bronte.
Speakers include inspirational cook Sarah Raven, alternative comedy pioneer Alexei Sayle, broadcasters Melvyn Bragg and Joan Bakewell, politician Vince Cable and former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis.
With 2016 being the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, there are also events in all strands of the Festival commemorating this landmark, including a puppet version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for all the family.
Artsbeat is offering you the chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to the literary festival. All you have to do is answer this question and send your answer, together with your name, address and contact telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 31.
What is the title of Joan Bakewell’s latest book?
To see artbeat’s recommendations for the festival see below.
Sunday July 10
You have two choices to begin your Sunday, either with a talk at 10am or, with a bit of a later start, at 10.45am for Festival Mass at St John’s Church. This event is being recorded by the BBC for future broadcast and features the Buxton Musical Society and Orchestra and soloists from the Buxton Festival Chorus.
The talk is being given by Laura Thompson, the author of Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters – one of whom was, of course, Debo, who was to become the Duchess of Devonshire.
Next we suggest you listen to 15-year-old Jackie Campbell on the piano at the Pavilion Arts Centre from 12 noon-1pm, who by the time you read this could have won the BBC Young Musician of the Year as he has made it to the semi-finals.
Then you need to take a long lunch because you won’t have much time to eat before the evening opera Tamerlano which starts at 7.15pm in the opera house with a talk at 6pm.
Before that, though, you can listen to Julia Bradbury talking about her Best Walks With a View book between 4 and 5pm in the opera house.
To finish off the evening there is jazz with a movie theme in the Pavilion Café until 10.30pm.
Saturday July 16
Alexei Sayle will be in conversation with Mike Neary about his book Thatcher Stole My Trousers at 10am. It promises to be a unique and beguiling blend of social history and memoir and will almost certainly be a good laugh.
You can follow this up with a complete change of tempo by listening to soprano Anne Sophie Duprels and Antoine Palloc on the piano. They will be performing Messiaen’s Poemes pour Mi and songs by Debussy and Satie.
Following on from a break for lunch you have a choice of either a talk by author Gareth Williams about his book which looks at what really happened in Loch Ness which is on from 2-3pm; or more classical music at St John’s Church with the Kaleidoscope Saxophone Quartet who are four creative young artists who are just launching their groundbreaking debut album. It starts at 3.30pm and finishes at 5pm.
Of course the really dedicated could fit in both before the opera talk at 6pm and the evening opera at 7.15pm which is I Capuleti e i Montecchi.
To finish there will be electric alternative-folk music from Tir Eolas in the Pavilion café.
Tuesday July 19
Melvyn Bragg talks about his gripping historical novel Now Is The Time from 10am-11am.
The book is is set in 1381 when a vast force of common people led by Walter Tyler and the priest John Ball marched on London protesting against unfair taxes and the corruption of those in power. We are sure there will be a very interesting discussion to be had at this event.
One of the world’s leading pianists Angela Hewitt will be performing Bach, Beethoven, Scarlatti and Haydn at the Pavilion Arts Centre from 12 noon until 1.30pm.
You have two choices for the afternoon, you can either have a long lunch and then listen to the soprano Elin Pritchard as she performs Hathaway: Eight Arias for a Bardic Life, which tells a story of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare on the day he died or you can go to see Janet Ellis in conversation with Mike Neary at 2.15pm.
The actress and TV presenter will be discussing her journey to becoming an author and her debut novel The Butcher’s Hook which is set in Georgian London. You will be able to follow that with something to eat before going to the evening opera which is Leonore at 7.15pm.
Saturday July 23
The Storm is former MP Vince Cable’s best-selling book which explores and explains the causes of the 2008 world economic crisis.
In a talk at the opera house from 10-11am Cable will give a unique perspective on the state of global financial markets and how the British economy should be managed in the next decade and beyond.
From 12 noon until 1pm soprano Gillian Keith and pianist Simon Lepper will explore the often tempestuous but always loving relationship between Richard and Pauline Strauss with a programme of some of his best-loved songs illuminated by readings of letters and memoirs.
Following lunch you should go to see the Lauren Scott Trio at St John’s Church from 3.30-4.30pm. Lauren has worked as guest principal harp with many of the UK’s leading orchestras and chamber groups and she will be playing alongside Conrad Marshall on flute and Raymond Lester on viola.
Hopefully you will then have time to catch Oldie editor Jeremy Lewis talking about David Astor (son of Nancy) who was one of our greatest newspaper editors while he was at the helm of the Observer.
The evening opera at 7.15pm is I Capuleti e i Montecchi.
For ticket information go to http://www.buxtonfestival.co.uk