Donald celebrates 40 years of Festival friendship with a Final Fling

One of Buxton International Festival’s best friends is celebrating his 40-year love affair with the event at a musical Final Fling.

Opera singer Donald Maxwell, who performed in the very first Festival in 1979 and has also been its Artistic Director and Artist in Residence, is hosting a concert and dinner in the Pavilion Arts Centre on October 19, featuring highlights from across the years.

Donald, who is a former patron of supporters group the Friends of Buxton Festival, will be accompanied in the evening of song will be musical friends including, on the piano, Wyn Davies who took over as Patron this year; former Festival Chief Executive Glyn Foley who will be returning to his first love, the bassoon; and Juliet Montgomery, soprano recently graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music and a Festival Young Artist in 2017.

Friendship is what the Festival is all about, said Donald, an operatic baritone and teacher who has  sung with all of the leading British opera companies, as well as La Scala,  Metropolitan OperaParis OpéraVienna StaatsoperTeatro Colon in Buenos Aires and Théâtre Musical de Paris.

“The Festival’s survival is an astonishing thing, and a lot of that is to do with the Friends,” he said. “There is a body of support, a lot of it local, which has kept it going when things were a little bit rocky over the years.

“It’s got a family feel. As a performer we see people in the audience who you see year after year, and I’ve got to know a lot of local people and formed lasting friendships with them.”

Donald and friends will be performing music to reflect his 40 years in what he called “a pot-pourri of nostalgia with a nod towards the next generation” from Juliet.

lDonald Maxwell’s Final Fling: a concert and dinner, October 19, 6.30pm, Pavilion Arts Centre. Tickets £45.  To book, go to www.buxtonfestival.co.uk/friends/friends-events

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