Buxton International Festival is “on a high” after one of the most critically-acclaimed seasons in its history, leading opera expert Professor Anthony Ogus believes.
Speaking to the Friends of Buxton Festival, Professor Ogus, who writes for Opera Now and is the author of Travels With My Opera Glasses, said: “This year was a bumper festival in terms of quality of the opera, some of the best ever seen at Buxton. It’s on a bit of a high, and long may it continue to flourish.”
Professor Ogus had the Friends in stitches with his talk on playwright George Bernard Shaw’s career as an opera critic. His unforgettable reviews – especially those about forgettable performances – were often far more entertaining than anything he was watching on stage.
Even the audience came under fire from his caustic wit. One lady who blocked his view had above “her right ear the pitiable corpse of a large white bird, which looked exactly if someone had killed it by stamping on the beast, and then nailed it to the lady’s temple, which was presumably of sufficient solidity to bear the operation.”
Bernard Shaw accepted the accusation that he was personal in his reviews, explaining that he took it personally if a performer wasn’t trying his or her best, said Professor Ogus.
But he also demonstrated a depth of understanding of music which made his comments very important to the development of opera.
The Friends have an exciting range of events planned, including a piano recital by one of Europe’s stars of the future, George Todica; a performance by English Touring Opera; a celebration of silent film at Stockport’s classic Plaza cinema and the story behind Gorton Monastery – Manchester’s “Taj Mahal.”
For more details, see the Friends section on the Festival website, http://www.buxtonfestival.co.uk, or ring 01298 30395.
Pictured above: Friends events secretary Joan Matthews presents Professor Anthony Ogus with a bottle of wine as a token of thanks for his talk.