It was announced today (Monday 27 July) that The Vache Baroque Festival, a new and exciting
open-air music venue, will open its doors to the public on 4 September 2020 for the first time.
The festival aims to bring audiences first-class Baroque music in a stunning outdoor setting, with
picnicking beforehand strongly encouraged. Just a stone’s throw away from London, the VBF will be
set in the grounds of The Vache, a historic stately home located in the heart of the Chilterns Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Since mid-March, opera houses, concert halls and theatres have been left dark and all performers
have found themselves without a stage. In response to the devastating impact Covid-19 is having on
performers and the arts sector as a whole, musicians Betty Makharinsky and Jonathan Darbourne
decided to take matters into their own hands and start their own festival. Striving to provide
audiences and musicians with a much-needed cultural outlet, the VBF promises to showcase
emerging talent met with a contemporary twist. By presenting multi-disciplinary productions from
the known Baroque canon alongside more obscure works, the VBF hopes to attract a younger and
more diverse audience to Baroque music.
Baroness Deborah Bull, one of the patrons for the 2020 performances said: “The Vache Baroque
Festival is a great example of the resourceful ways in which talented young creatives are responding
to the huge challenges that the performing arts sector currently faces. By launching an open-air
venue and colliding different art forms within their interpretation of Dido & Aeneus, the VBF team are
offering new ways for audiences to experience masterworks, while inspiring the next generation of
young artists and participants by welcoming them in to experience the final stages of the creative
process. As so many arts and cultural organisations are unable to operate in these difficult times, I
welcome the opportunity to support the efforts of emerging artists who, through courage and
entrepreneurialism, are seizing the opportunity to create work and remind audiences of what we are
missing while so many performance venues are sadly forced to remain dark.”
The festival will be launching this September with two performances of Purcell’s iconic opera, Dido
& Aeneas, which charts the tragic love story of the pair. In an effort to make the festival more
accessible, a number of local school children and performing arts students will be invited to watch
the dress rehearsal free of charge.
Directed by critically-acclaimed 2007-09 Jette Parker Young Artist Stage Director Thomas Guthrie,
musically directed by Jonathan Darbourne and choreographed by Ukweli Roach, with members of
his dance company Bird Gang performing, Dido & Aeneas will enchant and inspire in this modern
take on a well known Greek myth.
In an attempt to keep the peace, Dido, Queen of Carthage agrees to marry Trojan Prince, Aeneas. As
feelings grow, a blissful future seems certain. But unbeknownst to the happy couple, lurking spirits
threaten to tear them apart…
Katie Bray, winner of the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize at Cardiff Singer of the World 2019,
leads the cast as Dido, Queen of Carthage. She is joined by: Jolyon Loy (Aeneas), Betty Makharinsky
(Belinda), Angela Hicks (Second Woman), James Geidt (Sorcerer), Esther Mallett (First Witch), Sarah
Anne Champion (Second Witch), and Rory Carver (Sailor).
Gianluca Marciano, another patron for the VBF said: “I strongly admire and support The Vache
Baroque Festival. Betty and Jonathan are a great example for us all! Presenting a brand new festival
while the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in most of the musical scene shutting down worldwide is
brave and visionary, but also becomes a symbol of resilience and hope, as well as a huge help for all
professionals involved in music, theatre and dance. I am sure that The Vache Baroque Festival will
become part of the extraordinary summer festival experience which makes the UK so unique.”
The grounds will be open from 4pm for picnicking and pre-show performances. The first pre-show
performance will start at 5.30pm. There will also be a 360-degree surround sound speaker
Tickets are now on sale for Dido & Aeneas and can be purchased here: