Arts Derbyshire


The countdown is on for Buxton International Festival 2024, 18 days of knockout opera, music, books and jazz between 4 and 21 July.

The countdown is on for Buxton International Festival 2024, 18 days of knockout opera, music, books and jazz between 4 and 21 July.

Commenting CEO Michael Williams said: “BIF is fast-becoming one of the biggest and most popular festivals in the summer calendar and tickets are flying this year.  The roster at this summer’s festival is bigger and more impressive than ever before with artistic excellence, cultural vibrancy, originality and opinion forming events scheduled every day for 18 days.”

Top billing includes five new opera productions, Cuban dancer and choreographer, Carlos Acosta, superstar soprano Golda Schultz, conductor and pianist Sir Antonio Pappano, Strictly Come Dancing’s lead singer, Tommy Blaize , the BBC’s newsreader and presenter Clive Myrie, Channel 4’s Judge Rinder (Robert Rinder), BBC security correspondent and author, Frank Gardner and Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas.

The festival takes place in the heart of the famous spa town of Buxton with events at the famous Frank Matcham-designed Buxton Opera House, the Pavilion Arts Centre, St John’s Church, The Palace Hotel, the Assembly Rooms at Buxton Crescent Hotel as well as walks around the area.

Bag yourself some tickets whilst stocks last at


“This year’s opera programme is out most ambitious yet – never before has the festival created five new productions of its own in a single season”, says artistic director, Adrian Kelly. The festival’s operas are as follows:


  • ERNANI (6, 10, 12, 14 and 17 July) – Buxton Opera House

A new production of Verdi’s operatic dramma lirico 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 sings the title role and Nadine Benjamin is Elvira.


  • IL TRIONFO DEL TEMPO E DEL DISINGANNO (7, 11, 15 and 18 July) – Buxton Opera House

Christian Curnyn returns to Buxton for this brand-new joint production of Handel’s dramatic oratorio with the award-winning Early Opera Company directed by Jacopo Spirei with Anna Dennis as Beauty, Hilary Cronin as Pleasure and Hilary Summers as Deception.


  • LA TRAGÉDIE DE CARMEN (5, 9, 13 and 16 July) – Buxton Opera House

In its second collaboration with Norwich Theatre, BIF presents Peter Brook’s adaptation of Bizet’s extraordinary La Tragédie de Carmen. The show is conducted by Iwan Davies, directed by Katharina Kastening and designed by Bettina John with Niahm O’Sullivan in the title role.


  • THE BOATSWAIN’S MATE (8, 14 and 19 July) – Pavilion Arts Centre

This brand-new BIF production, written by British composer and suffragette Ethel Smyth, centres around a humorous battle of the sexes on the seafront in Margate.  The opera is conducted by Rebecca Warren and directed by Nick Bond with Joshua Baxter as Harry Benn and Elizabeth Findon as Mrs Waters.


  • LA CANTERINA (7, 11, 18 and 20 July) – Pavilion Arts Centre

Haydn’s comedic two-act operetta, another new BIF production, has all the ingredients for a riotous show with its stock-in-trade buffo plot and cast.  The opera is conducted by Toby Hessian and directed by Lysanne Van Overbeek with Helen Maree Cooper as Don Ettore and Dominic Mattos as Apollonia.


Buxton’s music programme is world-class and combines ensembles, young artists and solo recitalists including:


  • GOLDA SCHULTZ (8 July) – Buxton Opera House

South Africa’s superstar soprano, Golda Schultz, who dazzled at the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms, makes her Buxton recital debut.


  • ANTONIO PAPPANO (19 July) – Buxton Opera House

The internationally renowned conductor, Sir Antonio Pappano best known as music director at Covent Garden, gives a singers’ masterclass plus a talk about his book, My Life in Music.


  • PAUL LEWIS (5, 6 July) – St John’s Church

World-class pianist Paul Lewis returns to Buxton to complete his eagerly awaited

survey of Schubert’s piano sonatas.


  • VOCES8 (11 July) – The Octagon

Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble, VOCES8, performs sacred and secular music from Lassus and Gibbons to Gershwin and Enya.


  • KATHRYN STOTT (16 July) – St John’s Church

Concert pianist Kathryn Stott has delighted Buxton’s audiences for years. This will be her farewell recital as part of her last professional tour.


  • BRODSKY QUARTET (17 July) –

Since forming 50 years ago, the insatiable Brodsky Quartet has given over 3000 concerts, made over 70 recordings and collaborated with everyone from Bjork to Elvis Costello.


  • RODERICK WILLIAMS (9 July) – St John’s Church

Baritone Roderick Williams performs his highly acclaimed ‘Knights and Legends’ programme with accompanist Roger Vignoles which includes songs by Vaughan Williams, Schumann, Brahms, Honegger, Poulenc and Ravel.


Jazz director, Neil Hughes presents his third jazz programme with a dazzling opening weekend at The Palace Hotel, followed by daytime and late-night jazz across the festival’s key venues for the remaining fortnight.   Commenting Neil said: “The atmosphere in Buxton is an incredible thing to be part of – there’s a warmth and friendliness about the place that hard to beat.” Highlights include:




One of the world’s leading New Orleans clarinettists Adrian Cox fronts an all-star quintet as they play alongside Tommy Blaize, lead singer from BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.


  • JUDI JACKSON/MADELINE BELL (11 July) – Buxton Opera House

Judi Jackson, Vocalist of the Year at the 2020 Jazz FM Awards, headlines this late-night double bill with New Jersey-born singer and Buxton favourite, Madeline Bell.



Singer-pianist Jeremy Sassoon and his 18-piece big band play tribute to the very best music of Ray Charles – a night of jazz, blues and soul.


  • MICA MILLAR (13 July) – Pavilion Arts Centre

A chance to hear the winner of Jazz FM’s Soul Act of The Year Award (2022), Mica Millar, who is fast making a name for herself as one of Britain’s brightest new soul stars.



Victoria Dawson, Director of Books said: “I hope this year’s book festival will dissect the international as we travel the world across history, conflict, art, diplomacy, law and more.”

Highlights include:


  • CLIVE MYRIE (20 July)

Popular BBC Newsreader Clive Myrie discusses his deeply personal bestselling memoir, ‘Everything is Everything’, which tells how his family history has influenced his life, work and view of the world.


  • ROB RINDER (16 July)

Barrister turned writer and broadcaster, Rob Rinder, best known as TV’s Judge Rinder in the courtroom drama, discusses his new legal thriller, ‘The Suspect’, with Julian Glover.


  • FRANK GARDNER (12 July) – Buxton Opera House

BBC’s Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner, was left for dead in 2004 when ambushed in Saudi Arabia. His survival and return to news reporting has been remarkable. Frank discusses his career and latest novel,  ‘Invasion: The new Luke Carlton Thriller’.


  • CAROLINE LUCAS (13 July) – Buxton Opera House

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and the UK’s first and only Green Party MP discusses her book, ‘Another England: How to Reclaim Our National Story’ which sketches out an alternative Englishness: one that we can all embrace to build a greener future.

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