Small picture of Donizetti




Donizetti  Roberto Devereux and Offenbach Bluebeard

Buxton Festival, July 6-22, 2007.

(Thanks to the Buxton Festival for providing the pictures below)

The Buxton Festival continued its run of commendable productions with its 2007 offerings of a dramatic Donizetti's Roberto Devereux counterbalanced with a comic frothy Bluebeard from Offenbach.

The team for Roberto Devereux was:-

Elizabeth - Mary Plazas

Roberto Devereux - Todd Wilander

Sara, Duchess of Nottingham - Susan Bickley

The Duke of Nottingham - David Kempster

Lord Cecil - Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks

Sir Gualtiero Raleigh - Jonathan Best


Conductor - Andrew Greenwood (the Festival's new artistic director)

Director - Stephen Medcalf

Designer - Francis O'Connor

Lighting - John Bishop


The somewhat austere production highlighted the opera's dramatic qualities and in as new departure for Buxton, the production was sung in Italian.  Alfred Hickling in the Guardian noted that "Stephen Medcalf's dark, painterly production delivers proof that Donizetti was certainly prolific, yet could equally be profound".  Lynne Walker in The Independent  found things to praise in all of the lead singers.  David Denton in the Yorkshire Post  noted that "the singing of the small chorus was uncommonly good".   There was general praise for Andrew Greenwood's (the Festival's new Artistic Director) conducting of the Northern Chamber Orchestra.


Leicester, Elizabeth, Nottingham and company


Leicester and Elizabeth


The opening scene before Elizabeth was dressed in her full finery.
The dressing up of Elizabeth in the opening scene was mirrored by her undressing in the closing one
- a particularly thoughtful idea from Stephen Medcalf.


The team for Bluebeard included:-

Bluebeard - Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts

Popolani - Geoffrey Dalton

Oscar - Jonathan Best

Boulotte - Imelda Drum

King Bobeche - Mark Le Broq

Prince Saphir - Hal Cazalet

Queen Clementine - Linda Ormiston

Hernia - Charlotte Ellett

Conductor - Wyn Davies

Director - Annilese Miskimmon

Designer - Simon Holdsworth

Lighting - John Bishop

There could hardly have been a greater contrast than the sparkling production of Bluebeard in a new translation complete with topical jokes by Kit Hesketh-Harvey and with superb staging and a cast that played it up to the full.  Lynne Walker in The Independent talked of  " a jolly production that looks as good as it sounds."


 The company with Boulotte and Bluebeard at the centre


Boulotte with a glimpse of  Simon Holdsworth's stylish sets


Bluebeard and Boulotte




Page initially published in  2007