Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Soprano Gillian Keith Does the Double Again at Buxton ; Classical Music

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Soprano Gillian Keith Does the Double Again at Buxton ; Classical Music

Article excerpt

SOPRANO Gillian Keith has become almost an icon of the Buxton Festival in recent years, with her picture in the publicity material more than anyone else.

That's not surprising, as in the past three festivals she has either appeared in two different opera productions at once (she was in both Gounod's La Colombe and Vivaldi's Ottone In Villa last year), or starred in an opera production and given a solo recital as well (in 2011 it was Amboise Thomas's Mignon and a Handel programme, and in 2012 Handels' Jephtha and Strauss-plus-Rachmaninov in recital).

Her part in the festival goes back further than that, as the Canadianborn, now Londonresident, opera singer had leading roles in Handel's Hercules in 2004 and Mozart's Ascanio In Alba in 2005.

This time she's in the visiting production of Gloria: A Pigtale, by HK Gruber, with a final performance tomorrow (July 26), and she's also soloist in the festival's finale - a concert of Bach and Handel, with the Northern Chamber Orchestra conducted by Stephen Barlow, on Sunday (July 27).

She clearly has taken a liking to Buxton. "The first time I came," she says, "I hadn't been in England all that long. It takes a while to make your way around a new country, and I had never been to Derbyshire and didn't know anyone here.

"It was Harry Christophers (the conductor) who got me here. I'd done a lot of work with him by then and felt I was in safe hands! I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the place. It was so clean and fresh, and I felt I'd walked into a painting.

"With its association with water, there's something very cleansing about it - in the physical setting, the atmosphere, the environment fi and musically and artistically the festival is very positive. The fact that the festival attracts such amazing artists, even though it is operating on a limited budget, is a testament to the quality of the work that's done there. …

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