Buxton Festival toasts Bard’s 400th anniversary

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This year is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare and Buxton Festival will be joining in the celebrations of Britain’s greatest playwright.

There will be events toasting the Bard in all areas of the festival: opera, music and books.

Amongst the operas performed this year is I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Bellini’s version of the Romeo and Juliet story, focussing on the warring families at the centre of the story as much as on the star-crossed lovers themselves.

In the music series, acclaimed tenor Nicky Spence and pianist Simon Lepper will present As You Like It, a programme of Shakespearean songs.

There’s also a new dramatised concert, Hathaway, telling the story of Shakespeare’s wife, and starring soprano Elin Pritchard, who wowed Festival audiences last year in Lucia di Lammermoor. The concert by Manchester Chamber Choir will also feature Shakespeare songs amongst a mixed programme.

Buxton Festival’s book events feature a talk from world-renowned language expert David Crystal on howShakespeare’s plays were originally pronounced while Andrew Dickson talks about how Shakespeare’s plays have been enjoyed around the world, from Bollywood to the Wild West.

As well as these Shakespearean Festival events, there will, of course be the Buxton Festival Fringe’s Shakespeare Jukebox, performing open-air Shakespeare outside Buxton Opera House regularly during the festival, all proving that ‘All the world’s a stage’ at Buxton Festival.

The 16-day festival also features 38 concerts and recitals from world-renowned musicians and singers includinginternationally celebrated pianists Stephen Kovacevic and Angela Hewitt, The Chilingirian Quartet, baritone Roderick Williams, tenor James Gilchrist, The Schubert Ensemble 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.

Randall Shannon, the festival’s executive director, said: “We look forward to welcoming our valued local, national and increasingly international audience to one of the UK’s most enjoyable and stimulating arts festivals. We are particularly pleased to announce the partnership with Ecclesiastical Insurance and the University of Derby.”

For information about all Buxton Festival 2016 events, go to buxtonfestival.co.uk, or book tickets from the Opera House box office on 01298 72190 or visit website www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk