Buxton International Festival

Viva la Diva

Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848)Buxton Opera Housebutton--dates-and-timesDates & Times

A Salzburg State Theatre production in association with Buxton International Festival.

Donizetti’s opera is a delightful parody about a regional opera company’s preparation for a performance of an opera seria. The singers are continually fighting over who has the most important role, with everything threatening to descend into chaos. Then Agatha, the aging diva on whom the plot is centred, announces she is taking over. The role is written for a baritone and George Humphreys (who sang the title role in Eugene Onegin in 2019) slips into the role of the indestructible Agatha as if born to it.

The opera was first performed in Naples, and Donizetti makes witty musical references to two of Rossini’s operas written for the city, Otello and La donna del lago. The score is a delightful combination of fresh, energetic ensembles and virtuosic arias. Stephen Medcalf directs the production, teaming up with Kit Hesketh-Harvey to create a new English version for Buxton which take a look behind the scenes of an entirely fictional provincial opera company. Iwan Davies conducts the Northern Chamber Orchestra.

Adapted from plays by Simeone Antonio Sografi, new English version by Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

Creatives & Cast

Iwan Davies Conductor
Stephen Medcalf Director
Charlotte McKechnie Assistant Director 
Yannis Thavoris Designer
Kate Watson Choreographer
Jake Wiltshire Lighting Designer


George Humphreys Agatha
Jenny Stafford Prima Donna
Richard Burkhard Theatre Director
Elliot Carlton Hines Stage Director
Raimundas Juzuitis Prima Donna’s Husband
Joseph Doody Italian Tenor
Olivia Carrell Seconda Donna

Dates & Times

  • Duration: 2hr 15mins (includes interval)
  • Price: £25-£79



  • offer-music

    BIF Opera Offer

    10% off when you book all 3 BIF operas (La donna del lago, Viva la Diva & Antonio e Cleopatra)


Under 35s (Next Gen BIF Friends): £10 (available from 1 May)