A firework feast of Gilbert and Sullivan

Robin Newton
Robin Newton

THE first Northumberland Music Festival is going out with a bang.

The programme draws to a close with fabulous concert performances of key Gilbert and Sullivan songs given by former principals with D’Oyly Carte Opera.

One of the concerts will feature a fabulous fireworks display.

The concerts will be presented by Much Loved Productions under the direction of Robin Newton, head of music of Garsington Opera.

An evening concert and fireworks at Eshott Hall, on November 5, from 7.30pm to 10pm, will be accompanied by a three-course dinner. A Sunday lunchtime performance on November 6, from 1.30pm to 3pm, at Doxford Hall is to be accompanied by a buffet lunch.

Robin, whose musical credentials include work with the London Philharmonic, Opera North and English National Opera, is also a champion of new music. He brings his reputation for imagination and innovation to these concert performances which include pieces from The Gondoliers, Iolanthe, HMS Pinafore, Yeomen of the Guard, The Mikado and Pirates of Penzance.

Barbara Huddart, who is promoting the festival, said: “It is a great privilege to attract professional musicians of the caliber of D’Oyly Carte and Robin Newton to Northumberland. And to see them performing in an elegant Georgian country house will make it a memorable experience.”

Soloists Yvonne Patrick, soprano, Pauline Birchall, mezzo, Stephen Brown, tenor, Jeremy Peaker, baritone, and Graham Stone, bass, will be accompanied by pianist David Smith.

Between them their appearances include concerts and performances in America, Jerusalem, Milan, India and Macau, and for companies such as New Saddlers Wells, Covent Garden, The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Glyndebourne and the BBC.

The three-course dinner to accompany the Eshott Hall performance will be accompanied by a firework display and wine. A buffet lunch accompanies the lunchtime concert at Doxford Hall. Tickets, including meals, are £55 and £40 respectively.

The first Northumberland Music Festival, sponsored by the Morpeth Herald, is the brainchild of Robert Parker who owns Eshott, Doxford and Guyzance halls. He started the festival because of his love for music and Northumberland and wanted an opportunity to bring both together.

Although a musical county with rich local traditions reflected in the programme, the festival is unique in the mix of styles it will have brought together. As if to corroborate this, none of the classical musicians has ever performed at a Northumberland venue.

Other concerts and recitals in the programme include:

Gala Galore, the festival opening, which is performed by the Northumberland Music Festival’s own Northumberland Opera and presented by Robin Newton. The concert presents arias, duets, trios and quartets from key operas in the repertoire. Performances are on October 28 at Eshott Hall and October 29 Doxford Hall.

The Northumberland Ranters on Monday, October 31, at Guyzance Hall, presents a group of talented and enthusiastic traditional young musicians, aged ten to 18, from schools across Northumberland.

The Polyphonic Brass Quintet on Monday, October 31, at Doxford Hall, and Tuesday, November 1, at Eshott Hall. They have performed all over the country in venues such as the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

The Kingsmead String Quartet at Doxford Hall on Tuesday, November 1, and Eshott Hall on Wednesday, November 2. The Kingsmead Quartet, has been together for more than 12 years, and is regarded as one of the leading quartets.

Chetham’s School of Music at Doxford Hall on Wednesday, November 2. This concert includes performances from two of Chetham’s outstanding young students who will perform in the first half and in the second half international concert pianist Murray McLachlan will perform two towering masterworks for piano.

Northumbrian Pipes and Fiddles at Guyzance Hall on Thursday, November 3, from 6 pm. Andrew and Margaret will introduce a selection of rants and jigs, slow airs and waltzes, hornpipes and reels, combined with traditional songs from Northumberland.

Durham Miners’ Association Brass Band at Doxford Hall on Friday, November 4. The Band proudly represents the brass and percussion tradition of the North East with music that has filled the air at numerous local, regional and international festivals, as well as the Sage Gateshead.

Tickets for all performances can be booked on line www.nmfestival.com or by ringing 01668 283100.