Graeme Danby, a singer described as one of Europe’s finest character bass soloists, is to perform at the Northumberland Music Festival once again.
The professional vocalist has over 30 years’ experience, given more than 1,000 performances with the English National Opera and sung for some of the most prestigious opera companies both at home and abroad.
Having being born in the North East, at Consett in County Durham, and with his parents now living in Northumberland, the 53-year-old always likes to make time for region, and this concert, celebrating all things Northumbrian, is one he’s particularly looking forward to.
His one-night show will celebrate the music of the North East, offering a journey through the history of the region and a study of its varied cultural and musical influences.
Danby said: “I did the festival last year, and we had such fun performing an evening of Flanders and Swann at Eshott Hall. It was a big success.
“It was a great night, and we had a great laugh. What was really nice about it, from my point of view, was that I don’t get to sing in that type of compact venue that often now.” The singer now spends much of his life travelling to perform in operas across Europe.
“Most of my life is spent in massive opera houses, so being able to chat to people and see people’s faces and reactions close up is wonderful,” he said.
Performing alongside the star will be his wife, mezzo soprano Valerie Reid, and pianist Tony Kraus.
“When they approached us to return for this, it was great,” said Danby.
“We get to go to Doxford Hall. It’s only somewhere I’ve visited rather than performed at, so it’s a new venue and new programme, which is going to concentrate on the North East and Northumberland.
“The highlight for me and my wife will be to return to Northumberland to sing.
“We’re joined by Tony Kraus on the piano.
“He has been a great friend of mine for many years, and it’s lovely to hook up with him for this.
“He will add so much of the colour to the songs with his accompaniment.”
Danby’s concert will be just one of many being performed as part of this year’s Northumberland Music Festival, starting on Friday, October 30, and running until Saturday, November 28.
The festival, held annually since 2011, features a line-up this year including the Three English Tenors, the Savoy Opera, Musica Johannis, a full-length opera, and a special performance by the Northumbrian Ranters.
Danby said: “It’s time to celebrate the North East and to see what the wonderful things are about these festivals, which are a dying breed.
“This festival keeps going and keeps providing entertainment of the highest quality, and that has to be applauded and supported.
“These places are so important to the community and the cultural survival of us as a people.” Danby can be seen at Doxford Hall, near Chathill, on Saturday, October 31, at 6.15pm.
Tickets for the event are £49, including a three-course meal and reception drinks. For further details, visit www. northumberlandmusicfestival. com or call 01668 283100.
Danby, a Newcastle United fan, is also a tutor in the performing arts department at Sunderland University.
He and his wife have released two albums of songs by Sunderland-born singer-songwriter Eric Boswell.
Alternatively, call 01668 283100 or 01665 589700.