Buxton Opera House

 In Social Life

It had not been a good week. I had had my second shingles vaccination and carried a swollen arm and pains all over my body. However, I awoke on Saturday morning in a state of ecstasy, full of the joys of Spring. The reason was my visit to Buxton Opera House the night before. The English Touring Opera were performing The Rake’s Progress by Igor Stravinsky. It was exciting, colourful and musical and much more. The libretto was by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman and it was pure poetry. The whole evening was words and music and simply entrancing. For Ann and I it was a return to our London days of opera going, both romantic and cultural. However, it was here, in the Peaks and on our doorstep. We drove home across a pitch black countryside, no need for the underground.

Old and young

The contrasts were amazing. The audience was basically old and you feared for the future of opera. However, the orchestra and performers were all young and so talented. Why are the young attracted to perform but not to watch? It was also my first visit to Buxton Opera House. The building sits on a sixpence yet is similar in ambience to a London standard. There was all the gilt and glitter. Being small, it was ideal for this opera, with the audience and stage so close together. Nothing could have improved the evening and my bladder was just as relaxed as I was. I once had a poor opera experience in the lauded Sydney Opera House. Buxton could show them how to do it!

Buxton Opera House

The arts are a dirty word to politicians these days and grossly underfunded. Opera is seen as an elitist entertainment. However, I lived in a council house and opera does it for me. The lack of funding means that volunteers staff the opera house. My amazing evening was created by volunteers and talented young people, the latter slogging away on a tour of the provinces. Thank you everybody, it was wonderful.

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