Festival looks to build on successful debut with impressive lineup

THE Northumberland Music Festival made a fantastic debut next year but organisers are not resting on their laurels and have come up with a eclectic programme for this year, taking in a number of well known venues across the region.

Featuring some of the best-loved arias ever written, the programme includes music from classic operas by Mozart, Verdi and Puccini. And the honour of opening the event has been bestowed on Opera North. Acclaimed as one of the country’s leading opera collectives, they will perform in the intimate surroundings of Eshott Hall on Friday, November 9.

Reg Vardy Brass Band will perform a traditional programme for Remembrance Sunday on November 11 at Doxford Hall. The Band strives on innovation, and under the renowned conductor Ray Farr, has became a household name in the north notching up a host of awards, including 33 times North of England Regional Champion and Grand Shield Winners 2011.

Award-winning ensemble Liquid Architecture will give two performances at Eshott Hall the following day which will delight anyone keen to hear crisp interpretations of classic chamber pieces.

The group came together in 2005 to perform the Schubert Octet at the inaugural Chelsea Schubert Festival. Eshott Hall will be a perfect setting for the intimacies of chamber music.

The Northumbrian Pipes and Fiddle of Andrew and Margaret Watchorn return to the Festival to give a sparkling display of dance tunes, lyrical slow airs, stunning harmonies and lively rhythms on Wednesday, November 14 at Guyzance Hall where they will be joined by Janet Bennett, considered to be one of the most talented harpists and self accompanied singers in Britain today.

Thursday, November 15, sees the return of the The Northumbrian Ranters to Doxford Hall. The talented and enthusiastic young musicians, aged between 10 and 18, are from schools across Northumberland and theirconcert last year was one the most popular of the series.

Finally, Much Loved Productions will be back with their entertaining extracts from Gilbert and Sullivan’s choicest comic operas from Friday, November 16-Sunday, October 18. Last year they put the fizz into the festival, and Gilbert’s with and Sullivan’s gorgeous tunes were the perfect end to the event.

For further information about this year’s programme and tickets for any of the events visit www.nmfestival.com.