1996 Buxton Gilbert and Sullivan Festival

Miscellaneous Memories

Switch on your graphicsIan Smith, the festival organiser, without whom none of this would have happened.

Clearly the strain of running a festival with a million pound budget makes it hard to smile.

ian2.jpg - 6.3 KBut here is one of those smiles - caught during the "coffee and discussion" with Joyce Wright.

tbaths.jpg - 4.6 KClick on the thumnail for a larger view (27K) of the Baths which comprise the major reason Buxton exists. The source of the healing waters, shown here, has been turned into a tourist information bureau, while the hospital at which so many patients were treated lies practically unused. It was said that Gilbert himself was prescribed a visit to the Buxton baths to cure his gout.

tpalace.jpg - 2.1 K The Palace Hotel probably was a palace once, but the service associated with a palace is sadly lacking today. Many of the festival events were held within it, however, so click here for a better view of the top 2 stories as seen from the Town Hall.

tbourne1.jpg - 3.0 KThe Festival started on Sunday Aug 4 with sing-alongs around Buxton. One of the most organized (and vocal) groups that morning was from the Bournemouth G&S Society (+1 guest from Australia). Here they are performing outside the Octagon.(clickable image)

tbourne2.jpg - 2.2 KAnd here is a closeup of their "Pirates" routine, (which really wowed the audience).(clickable image)

tprocess.jpg - 2.9 KThe Costume procession was in the afternoon. Here is a small part of it forming up their ranks.(clickable image)

tdavid.jpg - 2.6 K David Turner, the adjudicator, had the thankless task of saying something nice about every performance, no matter how disastrous it may have been.
And what a good job he did! (Luckily the disasters were very rare!).
Unlike Ian, David was always smiling.(clickable image)

tgroup.jpg - 4.5 KHere is David during the "coffee and discussion" with Patricia Leonard and Michael Buchan.(clickable image)

tjoyce.jpg - 2.1 KJoyce Wright, pictured during her "coffee and conversation" is still exuding enthusiasm and charm. What a wonderful person! (clickable image)

tkenneth.jpg - 2.3 KWhile Kenneth Sanford is still performing almost as well as he ever has. Here he is in his "master class" showing what a Grenadier Guard (Private Willis) should really look like. (the 'rifle' is a borrowed walking stick) (clickable image)

Editorial Comment:(My personal opinions)
I think it was a tragedy that the D'Oyly Carte Company broke up in 1982, and that successive record and film producers have felt it necessary to somehow "make the show more relevant to today's generation".
Nothing could be a bigger mistake. Until I went to Buxton I had not seen the old D'Oyly Carte Professionals.
My perception of G&S was based on amateur performances, not on the interpretations of performers who analyzed the parts day after day, year after year, 8 performances a week.
After applying this amount of mental effort to understanding a part even an average performer would tend to gain a good insight into how the part fits into the Opera as a whole. But the ex D'Oyly Carte professionals, such as Kenneth Sanford, are no 'average' intellects. Indeed, Kenneth, the 'G&S purist' of the group, is brilliant. And his puritanism is grounded in a lifetime of deeds well done.
Unfortunately many of these 'original' performers are pushing their 80's now, and I have been one of the lucky ones to have seen the 'real thing'. But so has my 10 year old daughter. Did she think that Kenneth Sanford's performances were "old" or "not relevant to the modern generation"? Not a bit.
My only wish is this: may John Reed, Kenneth Sanford, Gillian Knight, John Ayldon. Peggy Anne Jones, Geoffrey Shovelton, Patricia Leonard, Michael Buchan, Mary Samson, Joyce Wright, Alastair Donkin and all the true 'professionals' keep the spirit alive!
Then it becomes encumbent upon us to pass their vision on to a new generation of performers.

....Trevor Marshall....

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