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The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Buxton

England 4 nights Prices on request

The elegant Derbyshire spa town of Buxton will host the 29th edition of its acclaimed festival which celebrates the works of the great English operatic partnership. Productions by international companies of many of Gilbert & Sullivan’s best-loved works are presented in Frank Matcham’s stunning opera house. Our four-night holiday this summer will include four separate productions as part of the Festival, as well as a private talk given by one of the Festival’s trustees, Bernard Lockett, a passionate Gilbert & Sullivan expert who written several books on the subject, and broadcast on BBC Radio and TV. In addition, we will have time to explore Buxton itself and visit some of Derbyshire’s spectacular stately homes.

What's included

...when you travel with Kirker

  • Four nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • Four dinners
  • Tickets for performances as described
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and gratuities as described
  • Services of the Kirker Tour Leader


  • Day 1 - Arrival & First Performance

    Make your own way to the historic 4* Buxton Crescent in the very centre of Buxton, recently reopened after a lengthy renovation. This evening, before the first performance, will have dinner together in the hotel’s restaurant.
  • Day 2 - Haddon Hall

    Today we will head out of town to Haddon Hall where we find one of the best examples of a Tudor and mediaeval hall together with its delightful Elizabethan garden. After the Dukes of Rutland decided to live at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, Haddon Hall lay empty and abandoned for more than two hundred years. In the 1920s, the 9th Duke of Rutland rediscovered and restored Haddon Hall into a house which is both intimate and stately. The Long Gallery is one of the most impressive rooms and much painstaking restoration has been carried out here in recent years to preserve this very special house.
  • Day 3 - Chatsworth House

    This morning we visit the grandest and best-loved of all English stately homes, Chatsworth. Seat of the Cavendish family for five hundred years and today the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth enjoys a spectacular setting in the Peak District and its treasures include Old Masters, porcelain, clocks and furniture. Its gardens are equally celebrated and are notable for the 300-year-old water cascade and for the vast rock garden designed by Joseph Paxton in the 19th Century. We will visit the house before it opens to the public and afterwards there will be some free time to visit the garden independently and have some lunch at Chatsworth’s café or restaurant.
  • Day 4 - Day at leisure

    There will be a talk by Trustee of the Gilbert & Sullivan Festival Bernard Lockett, who will explain the enduring appeal of the duo and their place in English musical history. The rest of the day will be free to explore Buxton at your leisure. 
  • Day 5 - The tour ends

    The tour will conclude after breakfast this morning.

Departure Dates and Prices

Oliver Condy

Oliver Condy

Tour Leader

More Info

Music Programme

Wednesday 9 August at 19.30

The Yeomen of the Guard

National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company
Composed towards the end of their working partnership, The Yeomen of the Guard opened on 3 October 1888. Set at the Tower of London, the plot involves a marks a slight departure from the G&S farcical comedy format, with a more serious tone – though not without its share of humour. It also features one of Sullivan’s finest scores, including highlights such as: ‘I have a song to sing, O’, ‘When a Wooer goes a-Wooing’, and ‘Free from his fetters grim’.

Thursday 10 August at 19.30


The tenth of fourteen comic operas written together by Gilbert and Sullivan, Ruddigore was first performed by the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company at the Savoy Theatre in London on 22 January 1887. It tells the supernatural tale of the Baronets of Ruddigore, cursed to commit a crime every day or perish in agony, and the rightful Baron who is disguised as a young farmer in love with the elusive Rose Maybud. In classic Gilbert style, this parody melodrama turns the stock tropes upside-down: good becomes bad, bad becomes good, and ghosts come back to life.

Friday 11 August at 19.30

The Mikado

National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company
Enduringly popular, The Mikado was the most successful of the Savoy Operas, running for an astonishing 672 performances in London on its first London run, which began on 14 March 1885, and going on to dozens of international productions. The plot pokes fun at English bureaucracy, under the thin veil of a setting in the Japanese town of Titipu, where a decree of the Mikado – or emperor – throws the locals into farcical scenes. Classic musical numbers include: "A wand'ring minstrel", "Three little maids", "Tit-willow", and the Act II finale.

Saturday 12 August at 19.30

The Pirates of Penzance

National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company
“Pirates” was premiered at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City in December 1879, before reaching London in April 1880, where it enjoyed no less than 363 performances at the Opéra Comique. It has become one of the most popular Gilbert & Sullivan operas, famous for its brilliant patter song, “I am the very model of a modern Major-General”. The story revolves around Frederic, who, at the age of 21 is released from his pirate apprenticeship before meeting and falling in love with Mabel. The problem, however, arises when he realises that his birthday of 29th of February (during a leap year) means he must serve the pirates for another 63 years…

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