51 best UK classical music festivals and summer operas taking place in 2022 - don't miss out!
The summer festival season is back with a vengeance! Here are the very best UK classical music festivals to look out for in 2022
It’s with very great pleasure that we welcome you to this year’s summer festival guide! The last two seasons have been particularly challenging for live music making, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and many festivals have been forced to downgrade activities or cancel performances altogether.
It’s hugely gratifying, then, to see most events back up and running at full capacity in 2022, in what promises to be a summer of top-notch musical activity. We’re greatly looking forward to what this festival season has to offer – and please do get in touch to share your own experiences over these next exciting months. Charlotte Smith Editor
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Glasgow, 21-24 April
The cancellation of last year’s debut edition was a blow. But the waiting is over as string ensembles representing Scotland, Germany, Norway and Estonia build bridges across Glasgow’s cafes, warehouses and pavements! The Scottish Ensemble, Trondheim Soloists, Ensemble Resonanz and PLMF Music Trust join forces on opening night for a pan-European celebration in the Barrowland Ballroom, with composers ranging from Hildegard of Bingen to Jonny Greenwood. There are world premieres, too, of works by Erkki-Sven Tüür and Mica Levi.
Leeds, 28 April – 1 May
Tel. +44 (0)113 234 6956
‘Song Illuminated’ is the strapline under which Leeds Lieder returns to the handsomely refurbished Howard Assembly Room. It takes the broad view. There are new works by Jonathan Dove and Deborah Pritchard, ‘SongPath’ walking trails and protest songs by the likes of Joni Mitchell to ring the changes on more mainstream fare such as Mahler from soprano Dorothea Röschmann and Schubert’s Schwanengesang performed by tenor Ian Bostridge with Imogen Cooper.
Brighton, 7-29 May
Tel: +44 (0)1273 709709
Sculptor Anish Kapoor was the first guest director of the festival back in 2009, and successors have included Laurie Anderson and Ali Smith. This year the mantle falls on writer-architect Marwa Al-Sabouni and site-specific theatre artist Tristan Sharps – their theme, ‘Rebuilding’. Brighton certainly rebuilds with a vengeance. Over 150 events muster some 10 commissions, plus five world and UK premieres. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring gets the Big Top treatment from Circa; the Marian Consort pairs Schütz’s Musikalische Exequien with a new work by David Fennessy; and under Ilan Volkov the Festival Chorus and Philharmonia Orchestra weigh anchor on Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony and Kaija Saariaho’s Oltra mar.
Chipping Campden, 7-21 May
Tel. +44 (0)1386 849018
For two decades the festival has provided the soundtrack to a Cotswold Spring, and for anniversary year, medieval St James’ Church welcomes returning friends such as Florilegium, cellist Steven Isserlis and festival president Paul Lewis. There are distinguished newcomers too: Quatuor Modigliani prefaces transcendental Schubert with the UK premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Split Apart; the Julian Bliss Wind Soloists cut Beethoven down to size; and pianist Mitsuko Uchida accompanies tenor Mark Padmore.
Newbury, 7-21 May
Tel. +44 (0)845 5218 218
From stately homes to ancient churches, Victorian Corn Exchange to Sheepdrove Eco Centre, there’s no shortage of distinctive venues as Newbury springs into festive life. The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Vaughan Williams symphony cycle unleashes the protean No. 4, and Voces8 flank Monteverdi’s Lagrime d’Amante al Sepolcro dell’Amata with Britten and Dove.
St John’s Smith Square, London, 13-21 May
Tel. +44 (0)20 7222 1061
La Serenissima casts its spell over the festival’s 38th edition which, an excursion to Westminster Abbey for the Monteverdi Vespers aside, calls St John’s Smith Square ‘home’. It ends with a ‘seasoning’ of Vivaldi courtesy of Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque, but there’s plenty of room for the less well-known. Siglo de Oro explores Lassus’s links to Venice, while the Gesualdo Six traces Josquin’s legacy through Willaert and Zarlino. And, following in the footsteps of the Venetian merchants, the Illyria and Marian Consorts join forces for a trip down the Adriatic Coast.
Bath, 13-21 May
Tel: +44 (0)1225 463362
With everyone invited, opening night ‘Party in the City’ can only mean one thing: Bath Festival is returning to revelry. And with the music and literature festivals conjoined, there’s overlap as the Carducci Quartet portrays Shostakovich in words and music, pianist Jeremy Denk interleaves Book I of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier with excerpts from his new book, and novelist James Runcie reflects on the creation of the St Matthew Passion. Poulenc’s La voix humaine despatches soprano Claire Booth to assorted secret locations; the Roman Baths inspire orchestral water music by Takemitsu and Grace Williams; and in the Abbey, Steve Reich and Palestrina detain Colin Currie and The Tallis Scholars respectively.
Norwich, 13-29 May
Tel: +44 (0)1603 531800
Elgar, Britten and Vaughan Williams are all stitched into the 250-year-old fabric of a festival that grew out of a 1772 charity fundraiser. And as the birthday cake is cut, two of them are back. Vaughan Williams’s Five Tudor Portraits was commissioned for the 1936 Festival and partners his Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1. Soprano Hanna Husáhr recalls the visits of the ‘Swedish Nightingale’ Jenny Lind; Heinrich Biber’s complete Mystery Sonatas are performed across three concerts; Arun Ghosh’s Canticle of the Sun sets words by St Francis of Assisi; and in the opening weekend, pop-up premieres sound 250 Fanfares.
Perth, 18-29 May
Tel. +44 (0)1738 621031
Originally a festival for classical music and opera, Perth has since expanded to cover all the arts. But as it celebrates its half-century, the human voice is front and centre. A gala night with Scottish Opera raises the curtain and Opera Bohemia makes its Festival debut with a chamber reworking of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly. Crack vocal ensemble Tenebrae sings Marian settings by Parsons, Bruckner and Grieg, while Judith Weir’s The Voice of Desire lends its title to mezzo Rowan Hellier’s song recital of Clara Schumann, Brahms and Kate Whitley.
Lewes, East Sussex, 21 May – 28 August
Tel: +44 (0)1273 815000
After last year’s Tristan und Isolde, Glyndebourne renews its Cornish credentials, but with a real rarity: an opera written in French, premiered in German, admired by Mahler and sharing with Britten’s Peter Grimes the simmering tensions of village life played out against the elemental churn of the sea. Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers makes its festival debut in the French original version directed by Melly Still and conducted by Robin Ticciati. Ticciati also presides over summer’s finale: a Poulenc double bill juxtaposing La voix humaine with the risqué delights of Les mamelles de Tirésias. Between the bookends are Michael Grandage’s 2012 update of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro to Franco’s Spain; Glyndebourne’s first new production in two decades of Puccini’s La bohème; and a revival of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Casting a Baroque spell is Handel’s Alcina, conducted by Jonathan Cohen with Jane Archibald as the sorceress.
Dorchester-on-Thames, 27-29 May
Tel. +44 (0)7808 473 889
Little surprise that Vaughan Williams 150 has set English Music Festival’s heart a-flutter. And in keeping with its penchant for rehabilitating the less frequently performed, the ballet Old King Cole crowns a concert given by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Ivor Gurney’s Violin Sonata in D is another ‘first’; baritone Gareth Brynmor John champions Havergal Brian; and Noël Coward bags the last word.
Wales, 27 May-5 June
Tel. +44 (0) 1437 722002
Web : www.stdavidscathedralfestival.org.uk
St Davids Cathedral Festival runs over the summer half-term from 27th May – 5th June in the stunning Cathedral by the sea in Wales, with a packed programme of concerts and events for all ages. The full programme can be found on their website , but includes Alis Huws (official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales), Jess Gillam and Ensemble and Morriston Orpheus Choir.
North Yorkshire, 28 May-11 June
Tel. +44 (0)1748 880018
With the wildflower hay meadows in full bloom, Swaledale’s Guided Walks are as colourful as its 50th-anniversary programme, which cries ‘Hallelujah’ with a gala performance of Handel’s Messiah in Ripon Cathedral. Evelyn Glennie heads a line-up including the Chelys Consort of Viols for Jill Jarman’s new work The Language of Bells; and in stately St Andrew’s Grinton, violinist Rachel Podger and Voces8 collaborate on works ancient and modern. Wrapping things up are The Versatile Serenaders, but not before Brett Dean has introduced his specially commissioned new work.
Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, 30 May – 2 August
Tel: +44 (0)1451 830292
Aiming to forge a complete Ring cycle by 2024, Longborough passes the halfway stage with resident Wagnerian maestro Anthony Negus conducting Amy Lane’s production of Siegfried. There’s more ripe Germanic Romanticism as Korngold’s anniversary prompts a semi-staged Die tote Stadt. Composers Freya Waley-Cohen and Francesca Caccini go head-to-head in a double bill, while Bizet’s Carmen turns Cotswold heads.
London, 31 May – 13 August
Tel: +44 (0)300 999 1000
Hunkering down beneath its state-of-the-art canopy, Opera Holland Park brings a taste of country house opera to the capital. New productions of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Bizet’s Carmen launch the season, while the adventurous will relish Sian Edwards conducting the UK premiere of Mark Adamo’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and Martin Lloyd-Evans directing an eye-catching double-bill of Delius’s Margot la Rouge and the young Puccini’s stage debut, Le Villi. Six song recitals, meanwhile, widen the perspective to encompass an alternative composite portrait of Carmen, and all three Schubert Lieder cycles, including Errollyn Wallen’s newly composed response to Schwanengesang.
Wormsley Estate, Buckinghamshire, 1 June – 31 July
Tel: +44 (0)1865 361636
From its 18th-century walled garden to historic in-house cricket pitch, Wormsley has its attractions; in summer, opera has pride of place in the airy, purpose-built Pavilion. New for 2022 is Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo: Laurence Cummings conducts the English Concert, whose instrumentalists also underpin Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Dvořák’s Rusalka is another festival debutant alongside Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and a specially commissioned community opera by Roxanna Panufnik and Jessica Duchen.
Bristol, 2-26 June
Tel. +44 (0)117 929 4929
The initiative of St George’s, Bristol’s acoustically blessed intimate concert venue, the month-long festival explores the voice in all its diversity – from the London Adventist Chorale to tenor Mark Padmore pulling on his thermals for Schubert’s Winterreise. Stile Antico ponders Elizabethan religious persecution in achingly subversive works by Byrd and Robert White; Arun Ghosh’s Canticle of the Sun sets words by St Francis of Assisi; and the new vocal arm of Chineke! delves into the music of 16th-century Portuguese composer Vicente Lusitano.
Snape Maltings and around, 3-26 June
Tel. +44 (0)1728 687110
Some festivals are venturing back into live performance a little gingerly. Not Aldeburgh! Extended by an extra week, it notches up 41 premieres and celebrates one of its own: composer Oliver Knussen, who would have been 70 this year. Tom Coult’s opera Violet, originally due to premiere back in 2020, finally launches a festival fostering community on and off the concert platform. Violinist Nicola Benedetti appears in four guises; the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme receives a 50th-birthday shout-out; and among a cornucopia of visiting ensembles, the Doric Quartet performs a complete Bartók string quartet cycle over a day, mezzo Sarah Connolly premieres songs by Mark-Anthony Turnage, and pianist Vikingur Ólafsson makes his Snape debut.
Alresford, Hampshire, 9 June – 14 July
Tel: +44 (0)1962 791020
Standing classically proud (if a little incomplete) over the Hampshire countryside, The Grange is in globetrotting mood, starting in the Scotland of Verdi’s Macbeth, with Gezim Myshketa and Judith Howard as the scheming power couple. Thence to Tartary where Handel’s Tamerlano (Raffaele Po) is on the emotional rack, before the Tower of London’s portcullis is raised on Christopher Luscombe’s new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard.
Opera isn’t the only thing on the mind of a festival that intended to mark the 60th anniversary of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year (step forward 2021’s 61st-anniversary outing!). While Rossini’s Cinderella goes to the ball in a production by Stephen Barlow, and Francesco Cilluffo conducts Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, there’s also an eye-catching staging of King Lear with a twist: Sir John Tomlinson leads a cast of fellow singers enacting Shakespeare’s play as written.
Market Harborough, Leicestershire, 8 June – 10 July
Tel: +44 (0)1858 437451
Surrounded by sumptuous gardens complete with contemporary sculpture, Nevill Holt has boasted its own award-winning opera house since 2018. After last year’s enforced retreat into the great outdoors, the stage is set for Puccini’s La bohème and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. They’re wrapped around an eclectic mini-festival ranging from The Swingles and Sam Jewison’s take on The Great American Songbook to saxophonist Jess Gillam, the Manchester Collective and Handel from the Dunedin Consort.
West Horsley Place, Surrey, 9 June – 16 July
Tel: +44 (0)1962 737373
An adroit choice of four operas starts with Verdi’s Otello, with Gwyn Hughes Jones as the Moor and Simon Keenleyside as his slippery sidekick. Venice also supplies the backdrop to Ponchielli’s La Gioconda starring Joseph Calleja, while Janáček’s Mr Brouček heads to the moon in a production by David Pountney. And for two nights only, skippered from the pit by Anthony Negus, Bryn Terfel weighs anchor in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman.
Chichester, 11 June – 10 July
Tel:+44 (0)1243 816525
The city itself is the star of the show, insist the organisers of the Festival of Chichester, and it’s a star with an all-consuming appetite. From Bach to the Blues, Ravel to Rock, it fields a month-long jamboree that takes in poetry, exhibitions and cinema along the way. In the Cathedral where Thomas Weelkes was once organist and Gustav Holst is buried, Leonard Elschenbroich plays the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Saxophonist Jess Gillam joins the London Mozart Players for Glazunov, and the Schumanns Robert and Clara absorb the Stradivarius Piano Trio.
Aldborough, 16-25 June
It’s turning out quite a year for Handel’s Theodora (among others, the Royal Opera’s new production at Covent Garden earlier this year); and, rescheduled from last year, Northern Aldborough isn’t missing out. Directed by Joe Austin and conducted by Julian Perkins, Fflur Wyn takes the title role as the festival embarks on a bumper edition. It’s not the only opera. John Tomlinson revisits John Casken’s recent chamber opera The Shackled King. Clarinettist Julian Bliss, pianist Clare Hammond and guitarist Sean Shibe (in tandem with Quatuor van Kuijk) are all Aldborough bound – as is maestro of the Chinese yangqin (dulcimer), Reylon Yount.
Near Ashford, Kent, 17-26 June
Tel: +44 (0)333 666 3366
Founded by countertenor Alfred Deller and continued by his son, Stour was a Deller family concern until 2019 when I Fagiolini’s director Robert Hollingworth took over the reins. And in the festival’s 60th-birthday year he’s pushing the boat out – and hoping that Alfred will be smiling down. Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, Handel’s Acis and Galatea and Purcell’s The Indian Queen ensure no lack of drama in a festival beholden to Bach with the Swingle Singers and Marian Consort. Musica Secreta lifts the veil on 16th-century convent life, and an all-singing-and-dancing Tudor revelry sounds the off.
Orkney, 17-24 June
Tel: +44 (0)1856 871445
It might count composer Peter Maxwell Davies among its founding fathers, but the festival’s midsummer magic has always cast its spell over a broad spectrum. Fables, stories and witches haunt an edition that includes a daily literary hour and a Tapestry Promenade. But music is never far away. Lotte Betts-Dean sings Maxwell Davies’s scena The Medium and joins percussionists O Duo for Ligeti and Crumb; The Assembly Project gives the UK premiere of Paul Crabtree’s opera The Ghost Train; and Tenebrae, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and pianist Clare Hammond swell an alluring guest list.
Derry/Londonderry, 23-26 June
Tel. +44 (0)2871 363 672
Derry/Londonderry is fast turning into Northern Ireland’s festivals central. In October, the tenth edition of the International Choir Festival will be raising voices once more, and July brings a Piano Festival with competition attached. But first, Walled City welcomes the Brodsky Quartet; the Ulster Orchestra in collaboration with Derry’s own Acoustronic; and, from America, the Grammy-nominated Sandbox Percussion.
Peasmarsh, Sussex, 23-26 June
Tel: +44 (0)1797 253178
Originally the brainchild of the much-missed Florestan Trio, Peasmarsh is still co-directed by violinist Anthony Marwood and cellist Richard Lester. Quality control is a given! The village’s Norman church is the hub of a festival that reaches out to Rye and Winchelsea, and this year invites the Heath Quartet, accordionist James Crabb and composer Sally Beamish, among others. Her Carnival Samba – Floreant! gets things off to a sizzling start and late-night tango spices up an eclectic programme that embraces Kurtág, Korngold and quintets by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms.
Hampstead, 25 June – 3 July
Tel: +44 (0)20 3322 8123
There’s rejoicing in NW11 as the imposing Lutyens Church of St Jude hails the 30th edition of its charity fundraising Proms season. Late-night comedy in the Refreshment Tent, Heritage Walks, and a lively Litfest augment A Night at the Opera with Nevill Holt Opera, Armonico Consort’s musical recreation of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation and a stable of artists including Orchestra Nova and the Gould Trio.
Baritone Roderick Williams is making for ‘The Great Outdoors’ in a programme of English song that takes place midway through Hampstead Garden Suburbs’ answer to South Kensington. A famous Lutyens church, St Jude’s boasts a particularly varied line-up this year, what with a family-friendly Roald Dahl Musical Extravaganza from the Magnard Ensemble and a Voces8 liaison with Finchley Children’s Music Group. Pianist Leon McCawley follows Haydn and Grieg with Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze, while the ‘Last Night’ jollities fall to Fantasia Orchestra with violinist Thomas Gould.
Fife, 29 June – 3 July
Tel: +44 (0)33 022 11 093
When it comes to the weather, East Neuk goes with the flow. ‘Thunderplump’ (Scottish for a sudden, violent deluge) is the name of this year’s ‘Big Project’ combining film and music, and the musicians buckling up for the return of the pop-up ‘Band in a Van’ will be hoping there will be no downpours. Schubert anchors a line-up that weaves confidently from Hollywood Swing to Syrian oud music, and festival regulars include pianists Elisabeth Leonskaja and Christian Zacharias, the Elias and Pavel Haas Quartets, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
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Tel: +44 (0)1304 370220
Wellies on! Cornwall comes to Kent as a music-theatre piece about The Lost Gardens of Heligan and a day devoted to the Goodwin Sands reinforce Deal’s reputation for the eye-catching. In Sandwich, Handel’s Fireworks and Water Music assemble a supersized band headed up by the Academy of Ancient Music; the Echéa Quartet with soprano Anna Cavaliero are backing Britten; and percussionist Evelyn Glennie jams with Trio HTK. Ukrainian pianist Dinara Klinton, meanwhile, plays the complete Prokofiev Sonatas over three recitals
New Romney, Kent, 7-17 July
Tel: +44 (0)800 988 7984
There will be cake twice over as Judith Bingham celebrates her 70th birthday and clarinettist Michael Collins his 60th – blowing out candles together as he premieres her new Clarinet Concerto. Inspired by literary landscapes, it’s not the only literary celebration afoot. The centenary of Façade, Walton’s experimental collaboration with Edith Sitwell, enlists tenor James Gilchrist and soprano Lucy Crowe; Voces8 bring their customary polish to the party; and Changeling Theatre insists on The Importance of Being Earnest – something probably lost on the creators of Façade!
Lichfield, 7-17 July
Tel: +44 (0)1543 306271
For a festival turning 40, Tallis’s 40-part motet Spem in alium is something of a go-to. Lichfield doesn’t resist, but performs it with a piece specially commissioned from Thomas Hyde and Vaughan Williams’s G minor Mass. Featured in the very first festival, VW’s Tallis Fantasia returns the BBC National Orchestra of Wales to the Cathedral, where there’s late-night candlelit Baroquerie from violinist Rachel Podger. Stephen McNeff’s chamber opera Beyond the Garden puts out new shoots; and by way of a toast, Oz Clarke and Armonico raise a ‘Gin and Phonic’.
Buxton, -24 July
Tel: +44 (0)1298 72190
There’s much more to Buxton than opera – a new jazz strand for a start, not to mention a blue-chip concert series spotlighting the likes of countertenor Iestyn Davies, the Mithras Trio, Fretwork and the English Concert. But with Frank Matcham’s revered theatre on standby, opera has long cut a distinctive dash. And Buxton isn’t shy about going out on a limb. Rossini’s Walter Scott-inspired La donna del lago spearheads five productions, among them – hot-footing it from Aldeburgh – Tom Coult’s Violet.
York, 8-16 July
Tel: +44 (0)1904 658338
After two years online, York can’t wait to establish ‘Connections’ – 2022’s theme. But, as director Delma Tomlin observes, it’s just as much about ‘reconnecting’ music, artists and audiences. Returning by way of grand finale is the Young Artists Competition, whose entrants can be inspired by visiting ensembles such as The Gonzaga Band and the Rose Consort of Viols. The Tallis Scholars trace links between Josquin, Byrd and Palestrina; and the Gabrieli Consort and Players recreate the 1595 coronation of Marino Grimani as Doge of Venice.
Cheltenham, 8-16 July
Tel: +44 (0)1242 850270
It opens with a relative whisper – duos from Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason – and closes with the mightiest of roars: Mahler’s ‘Symphony of a Thousand’. Cheltenham has never bought into the notion that one size fits all. And, ranging from early music to over 20 premieres, variety is stitched into programming that encourages horizontal listening in Gloucester Cathedral where, among others, Manchester Collective and accordionist Samuele Telari create a live mixtape. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English Concert and London Mozart Players complement solo recitals and chamber music from the likes of pianist Ingrid Fliter, the Brodsky Quartet and soprano Lucy Crowe. While in Tewkesbury Abbey, Tenebrae celebrates 20 years of choral excellence with Poulenc’s harrowing a cappella work for double choir, Figure humaine.
London, 15 July – 10 September
And then there were eight! After last year’s slightly truncated Proms season it’s eight-weeks-business-as-usual as the prommers return. Full details will be announced on 26 April, but it’s safe to assume that anniversarians Vaughan Williams, Xenakis and George Walker will not be overlooked.
North Yorkshire, 5-31 July
Tel: +44 (0)1751 475777
Mindful of the Vaughan Williams anniversary, Ryedale is moved to consider the relationship between music and place. And when it comes to places, Ryedale is spoilt for choice, from York Minster to Castle Howard, Scarborough Spa to Ampleforth Abbey. Handel’s Acis and Galatea embarks on a Dales churches crawl, while in the Minster Mark Elder conducts his Hallé forces and soloists including mezzo Alice Coote in Verdi’s Requiem. New works by Errollyn Wallen, Tarik O’Regan and Roxanna Panufnik are in prospect, as well as pianist Stephen Kovacevich, the Maxwell Quartet and The Gesualdo Six.
King’s Lynn, 17-30 July
Tel. +44 (0)1553 764 864
Ryedale isn’t the only festival with Vaughan Williams on its radar. In 1905, the composer was in King’s Lynn where a tour of local hostelries, family homes and the North End fisherfolk resulted in a fine haul of folk songs that fed into the three Norfolk Rhapsodies and A Sea Symphony. The Lark Ascending soars in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s closing night concert; and Spiritato and Ensemble Hesperi gild the traditional Early Music Day. For those of a non-nervous disposition, in the Guildhall where Shakespeare is reputed to have trodden the boards, Minima accompanies a screening of Murnau’s 1922 Expressionist classic Nosferatu.
Paxton House, Scottish Borders, 22-31 July
Tel: +44 (0)131 226 0009
Perched loftily above the River Tweed, Palladian Paxton House has been dispensing choice chamber music from its well-stocked picture gallery since 2006. There will be tales to tell as it engages with Visit Scotland’s ‘Year of Stories’ and the irrepressible Maxwell Quartet are once more ‘in residence’. Pianist Pavel Kolesnikov remembers the Proust centenary with works by Reynaldo Hahn, Fauré and Franck. There’s more Fauré from BBC New Generation Artists the Mithras Piano Trio; and Paxton signs off with Mozart, Bach and Chopin from pianist Angela Hewitt.
Bampton, Oxfordshire, 22 July – 16 September
Tel: +44 (0)1993 851142
‘Fool Moon’ might be taking liberties with the title of Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, but the Oxfordshire-based company has always treated the Esterháza Kapellmeister with respect and the extravagant wedding offering will be Bampton’s third excursion into Haydn’s penchant for setting Goldoni.
Dartington, Devon, 23 July – 19 August
Tel: +44 (0)1803 847070
Dartington is in its element this year. And not just one. Director Sara Mohr-Pietsch themes each of the four weeks of concerts around Water, Fire, Earth and Wind, all brought together by the fifth element ‘aether’, the essence of music itself, she suggests. Monteverdi’s Vespers and Gavin Bryars’s Jesus’ Blood never failed me yet are claimed by ‘Water’; Handel’s oratorio Athalia catches ‘Fire’; ‘Earth’ yields Shostakovich string quartets from the Brodskys and the Brahms Requiem; while ‘Air’ buoys up pianist Rolf Hind and a concluding ‘hurrah’ for Vaughan Williams 150.
Hereford, 23-30 July
Tel: 01452 768 928
Gloucestershire-born Vaughan Williams was closely identified with the Three Choirs Festival, which premiered no fewer than nine of his works. So in anniversary year, Hereford launches a celebration that will carry through to Gloucester in 2023. 2022, meanwhile, is bookended by Dvořák’s Requiem and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. Stabat Mater settings by Poulenc and Richard Blackford are mingled with arrangements of Bach by Stravinsky, Webern and Elgar. And there’s a rare chance to hear Finzi’s Dies Natalis in its original incarnation for soprano.
Bryanston, Dorset, 25-30 July
Tel: +44 (0)1258 840000
Sporting an international intake, the Summer School is up and running once more, supplying the chorus and technical backup to the operatic class of 2022: Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. And for those hungry for more, ‘Bluffers’ Lunches’ give background lowdown with conviviality.
Cumbria, 29 July – 7August
Tel: +44 (0)1539 266200
What with an al fresco pop-up Lark Ascending tour, the Serenade to Music and a slimmed down Sinfonia antartica twinned with Towards the Unknown Region, there’s no danger that Vaughan Williams 150 is being overlooked in the Lakes. But in Ambleside, the Marian Consort proposes ‘Music for the Queen of Heaven’; Nic Pendlebury’s electric viola is ‘In the Dock’ (the Dock Museum, Barrow) for music by Steve Reich and Terry Riley; and composer in residence Cecilia McDowall is generously represented. Add in The Hermes Experiment, Elias Quartet and Linos Piano Trio, and the hills of the north have plenty of reason to rejoice.
Snape Maltings, 31 July - 31 August
Tel. +44 (0)1728 687110
With Aldeburgh’s June Festival extended to three weeks, there’s scarcely time to draw breath before Snape’s month-long popular postscript beckons. Family events on the outdoor Dome Stage and a generous helping of jazz, rock and folk music don’t elbow out a classy classical cohort. Joining the Britten Sinfonia with trumpeter Alison Balsom, the Emerson Quartet and guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, Cuarteto Casals plays Haydn, Stravinsky and Dvořák; and, under Sir Simon Rattle, the LSO prefaces Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 with Sibelius.
Edinburgh, 5-28 August
Tel. +44 (0)131 473 2000
It’s about to be all change at Edinburgh Festival. After eight years as director, Fergus Linehan steps down, and next year’s festival will be the first under violinist Nicola Benedetti. Linehan bows out at a historic moment: it’s the Festival’s 75th anniversary, and there will be residencies by Theater Amsterdam, the Philharmonia and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Operas include Dvořák’s Rusalka starring Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw and Strauss’s Salome with Swedish soprano Malin Byström in the title role; and there’s symphonic Beethoven and Florence Price from the Philadelphia under Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Waterperry House, Oxfordshire, 12-20 August
Tel: +44 (0)7543 108386
Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park has become something of a Waterperry institution, and this summer’s revival is prefaced with a UK tour. But Jane Austen isn’t the only belle of the fifth- anniversary ball. Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro plants its flag on the front lawn; and there are more pre-wedding jitters in the UK premiere of Ana Sokolović’s a cappella opera Svadba. ‘Wagner at Twilight’ and a staging of Janáček’s song cycle The Diary of One Who Disappeared enlarge a vintage celebration.
Bangor, County Down, 19-27 August
Tel. +44 (0)28 9042 7600
Twentieth-anniversary Clandeboye lost some of its international artists to travel restrictions last summer, but it didn’t dampen the celebrations. Schubert and Debussy come under the gaze of its sequel, as artistic director Barry Douglas reinvites soprano Ailish Tynan and horn player Richard Watkins. He himself concludes the festival in the role of pianist, directing Camerata Ireland from the keyboard in Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto; and in a solo recital he pairs Schubert’s Four Impromptus with Prokofiev. The traditional Celtic Celebration night will doubtless have Irish eyes smiling, and music by Polish composer Penderecki spikes the chamber programme.
Belcombe Court, Bradford-on-Avon, 19 August – 17 September
Tel: +44 (0)1225 868 124
Four years after relocating to the Georgian Belcombe Court, erstwhile Iford Opera has reinvented itself as IF Opera, with a remit to tour as well as maintain the much-cherished festival. Clare Teal heads up the traditional Picnic Prom; Christian Curnyn conducts a Purcellian postscript; an interactive family show indulges in a spot of moon-gazing; and operatic honours go to Puccini’s La Rondine and a comic double-bill of Donizetti (Rita) and Wolf-Ferrari (El segreto di Susanna).
Presteigne, 25-30 August
Tel. +44 (0)1544 267800
For its 40th anniversary, Presteigne, set amid the Welsh Marches, is pulling out all the stops. Ten specially commissioned works include a piece from composer in residence Julian Philips for Nova Music Opera. Tarik O’Regan, David Matthews and Huw Watkins send birthday wishes, spurred on by the Carducci Quartet, oboist Nicholas Daniels and the Festival Orchestra under Presteigne’s director, George Vass.
East Lothian, 8-19 September
Tel. +44 (0)131 226 0004
Although Lammermuir doesn’t nail its colours to the mast until June, Scotland’s Sunshine Coast and hills, made famous by Sir Walter Scott, will relish the return of pianist Jeremy Denk to play Ives and Bach. Quatuor Mosaïques leans into Haydn and Schubert; there’s Sibelius from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; and Mozart monopolises the Dunedin Consort.