Thursday, 10 May 2012

Counting down

Fringe 2011 is little over 100 days away - someone might give me an exact number but I'm not counting on it. Before we attend to Fringe matters though we should point out that the Buxton Opera festival programme is now available. Sporting an excited cover by local artist Rob Wilson the programme is impressively designed. Tickets go on general sale on April 4th - there is still a week left for Festival Friends' to make priority bookings. No doubt some celebrity recitals are sold-out already. For those that are not regular opera goers and are nervous at paying up to £57 for trying it out - well the £10 tickets are OK. The view can be a bit limited and the back support isn't great (you'll have to make your own judgement as to whether your body can stand this - don't sue us) but you're unlikely to come away feeling that you've wasted your money. In recent years the Festival has presented opera by Donizetti to critical acclaim. Last year's Luisa Miller was fab - though I don't think that was the word the Times critic used. This year's Donizetti is Maria di Rohan. Also on offer is Handel's Saul with TV star and early music heart-throb Harry Christophers conducting. Now Handel died in 1759 and even my limited history education tells me that he could not have set his opera after World War II.
No doubt Handel will survive the updating.

Absolutely free at the Festival are the Sunday morning masses at St John's. Haydn masses are sung on 10th and 17th July and on 24th is Victoria's O magnum mysterium.

Amongst the literary events this year is Betsy Tobin talking about her novel Crimson China which is set around the experiences of Chinese migrant workers of Morecambe Bay. Betsy is at the Lee Wood Hotel on July 14th at 3pm. One of the intriguing events at Fringe 2011 makes use of Betsy's novel. Titled BOOKS IN THE PARK members of Books in the Peak will run a free workshop on setting up a book club. Join them in their teepee for a sample meeting where they will discuss the first chapter of Crimson China. Find out more at and be at the Pavilion Gardens, on the Old Bowling Green on 23 July at 11.00 to 12:30pm or 1pm to 2:30pm.

Quite, quite different but exciting will be the shows by Mart Rodgers' trad jazz outfit. Their programmes will include classic jazz tunes and inspiration from Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, The Ink Spots, evergreens, ballads and even some band originals. Catch them at The Railway on 8th and 22nd July 8pm to 10:30pm.

by Keith Savage - Published 26/03/2011

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