It’s the audience which takes the bow at Wyn’s cabaret show
Music enthusiasts are being invited to take a bow at a cabaret which the star is performing as a thank-you for all their hard work.
The Friends of Buxton International Festival are hosting the evening of music based on The Great American Songbook performed by their Patron Wyn Davies, director of music at New Zealand Opera.
“Being a Friend involves a lot of giving,” said Wyn, an internationally renowned conductor who first appeared at the Buxton Festival in 1983 when he conducted the children’s opera James and the Giant Peach.
“At Hassop Hall I’ll be the one doing the giving. I’d like the Friends be able to sit back, relax and receive.”
Just Wyn, is a big thank-you to the Friends, but tickets for the event on September 12, in the magnificent ballroom at the Hassop Hall Hotel, are also available to the general public.
“This will not be the first time that I’ve done a cabaret for The Friends of Buxton Festival so I already have an idea about the kind of mix of fun and nostalgia they enjoy,” said Wyn, who has worked at the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Albert Hall and the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden.
“Being one of the most active, and most cash- generating Friends organisations I know, Buxton Friends deserve an entertaining night off. There’s no danger of anything cultural!”
Wyn started singing cabaret songs with friends at the Buxton Festival in the 1980s, once filling in during a costume change with a Flanders and Swann song.
“One song became two and on it went,” said Wyn, who when working in New York tried his hand at an open mic cabaret event.
He was spotted by the late Margaret Whiting, an American singing legend and TV star who knew a thing or two about the American Songbook: her father Richard wrote Hooray for Hollywood and On The Good Ship Lollipop, to name but two. She suggested the club give him a regular spot.
But Wyn said: “I don’t think I will be trying to recreate the New York style in Derbyshire because these days the show is ‘Just Wyn’- it’s my style and not something that imitates somebody else.
“The show doesn’t tell a story, it’s just an entertainment with a wide range of types of song, though all informed by The American Songbook. My two idols from my New York days are Steve Ross and Michael Feinstein and the main characteristics are the kind of heightened sense of performance plus a very personal connection with the songs.”
l Just Wyn at Hassop Hall Hotel, Hassop, which is between Bakewell and Chatsworth, September 12, 6.30pm. Tickets at £55 include a sumptuous meal. To book go to www.buxtonfestival.co.uk/events/friends
Visit buxtonfestival.co.uk for more information or telephone 01298 70395.
About Buxton International Festival
Buxton International Festival is one of the UK’s leading arts events taking place in July each year; a cultural celebration of the very best opera, music and literature taking place in the beautiful Peak District. The Festival features the most promising rising stars in the arts world, as well as prominent international singers, artists and literary figures performing in a packed summer programme of in excess of 120 events over a 17-day period to an audience of over 30,000.
The Festival produces three operas alongside a series of concerts given by many leading British and international musicians, and a literary series featuring leading writers and thinkers. Festival venues include the exquisite Matcham-designed Buxton Opera House, St John’s Church and the Pavilion Arts Centre. Together with the Buxton Festival Fringe, the spa town is a haven for arts enthusiasts throughout July each year. The Festival also presents an annual autumn Book Weekend and Outreach Programme.
Buxton International Festival has been presented annually since 1979. The brainchild of Malcolm Fraser, the Head of Opera at the Royal Northern College of Music, who had a vision of making the dilapidated Buxton Opera House, which had been used as a cinema for most of its life, into the home of an annual opera festival. With the help of Welsh National Opera conductor, Anthony Hose, he set about making his dream a reality. The Artistic Director is the acclaimed conductor, Stephen Barlow.