A musical feast

THE first Northumberland Music Festival, which will be welcoming a host of top performers from the world of opera, classical and traditional music, begins tomorrow.

The festival, which runs until November 6, takes place at three of the region’s finest historic houses, Doxford Hall, Eshott Hall and Guyzance Hall.

It will feature a huge variety of music and will give audiences the chance to see many of the artists making their debut performances in the North East.

The Northumberland Music Festival is the brainchild of businessman Robert Parker, the owner of all three venues, who created the festival to combine his love of music with a love for the county he has embraced as his second home.

The resulting programme, with tickets starting from just £10, offers audiences chance to sample a unique mix of musical styles.

A percentage of all ticket sales will be donated to three charities, Macmillan Cancer Support, Great North Air Ambulance and HospiceCare North Northumberland.

EVENTS

Tomorrow: Gala Opera Concert. Presented by Robin Newton, and includes solos from La Traviata, Le Nozze Di Figaro, Carmen and Cosi fan’ Tutte. Soprano Samantha Crawford will perform in the North East for the first time. At Doxford Hall. 8pm–10pm. £55pp including glass of Bucks Fizz on arrival, dinner and half a bottle of wine, or £30pp including glass of Bucks Fizz on arrival.

Saturday, October 29: Gala Opera Concert. Same as above. At Eshott Hall. 8pm–10pm. £55pp or £550 table of 10 including glass of Bucks Fizz on arrival, three-course dinner and half a bottle of wine, or £30pp including glass of Bucks Fizz on arrival.

Sunday, October 30: Gala Opera Concert. Same as above. At Doxford Hall Hotel. 1.30pm–3pm. £40pp including buffet lunch and glass of house wine or soft drink.

Monday, October 31: The Northumbrian Ranters. A traditional music ensemble compassing fiddles, cellos, accordions, flutes and Northumbrian pipes, and plays all types of traditional music from England, Ireland, Scotland, as well as from Norway and Spain. At Guyzance Hall. 6.30pm for 7pm. £10 including wine and a selection of Northumbrian cheeses.

Monday, October 31: Polyphonic Brass Quintet. The quintet is nationally acclaimed and its programme includes Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, Vivaldi’s Double Trumpet Concerto and Pavane’s Chanson de Matin. At Doxford Hall Hotel. 7pm–10.15pm. £35pp, sparkling wine and canapé reception, two-course dinner with coffee.

Tuesday, November 1: Polyphonic Brass Quintet. Same as above. At Eshott Hall Hotel. Noon–1.30pm. £25, including two-course lunch with coffee and a glass of wine or £10 for event ticket only.

Tuesday, November 1: Kingsmead String Quartet. One of the UK’s leading quartets, whose performances include Gershwin, Haydn’s Lark Quartet and Dvorak’s American Quartet.At Doxford Hall Hotel. 7pm–10.15pm. £35pp including sparking wine and canapé reception, two-course dinner with coffee.

Wednesday, November 2: Kingsmead String Quartet. Same as above. At Eshott Hall Hotel. Noon–1.30pm. £20pp including buffet lunch, glass of wine and coffee.

Wednesday, Novembver 2: Chetham’s School of Music Piano Recital. Featuring pieces by Bach, Liszt, and Chopin and a solo performance by head of keyboard, Murray McLachlan. At Doxford Hall Hotel. 7pm–10pm. £20pp, including two-course buffet supper or £15pp for event ticket only.

Thursday, November 3: Northumbrian Pipes and Fiddle. Andrew and Margaret Watchorn performing a selection of rants and jigs, slow airs and waltzes, hornpipes and reels, combined with traditional songs from Northumberland. At Guyzance Hall. 6.30pm. £12.50pp including a canapé reception.

Friday, November 4: Durham Miner’s Association Brass Band. Playing in Northumberland for the first time their concert will include Big Band Classics and Traditional North East Music. At Doxford Hall Hotel. 7.30pm. £30pp, including pie, pea and pudding supper and Pimms or a pint.

Saturday, November 5: A Feast of Gilbert and Sullivan. Former Singers from The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company present highlights from The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, and Gondeliers & HMS Pinafore. Early reservations are advised. At Eshott Hall Hotel. 7.30pm–10pm. £55 per person (£500 table of ten) including three-course dinner, half bottle of house wine and fireworks.

Sunday, November 6: A Feast of Gilbert and Sullivan. Same as above. At Doxford Hall Hotel. 1.30pm–3pm. £40pp (£140 table of 4), including buffet lunch and a glass of house wine or soft drink.

l For more information and for tickets, visit www.nmfestival.com or call 01668 283100.