Free Time

Oundle International Festival: 30th anniversary

Oundle International Festival (6 – 20 July) is celebrating 30 successful years this summer by bringing together a delightful mix of classical music, opera and open air theatre to suit both adults and children

Known originally as the go-to destination for outstanding organ recitals, the festival organisers have diversified over the years to work with world-leading performers of all musical genres. With such an in-depth knowledge of the vital ingredients necessary to put on a truly wonderful festival, it’s no surprise that the 30th anniversary will be better than ever. The exciting line-up boasts both familiar faces returning to Oundle as well as new performers on the threshold of a professional career.

Whether it be chamber music or organ recitals, 1920s jazzy classical, brass bands, choral music or opera, there’s music to suit everyone’s taste. Headlining the festival will be internationally renowned classical trumpeter Alison Balsom, 2013 Gramophone Artist of the Year. A truly mesmerising trumpet player, she is set to thrill audiences in the beautiful setting of Oundle School chapel, accompanied by the organist of Eton College, David Goode. Performing later the same evening will be the Festival Chorus singing the electrifying Carmina Burana – music made famous, for the uninitiated, by the Old Spice adverts…

The Choir of King’s College, London will be in residence during the festival to lead a meandering Bach walk through picturesque Northamptonshire villages, stopping at churches in Pilton and Stoke Doyle for music and food along the way. The Choir will also perform Rachmaninov’s Vespers at Oundle School Chapel.

The Calefax Reed Quintet will recreate the gaiety of The Roaring Twenties with the music of Weill and Gershwin in collaboration with mezzo soprano Cora Burggraaf; chamber music treats will include the Aronowitz Ensemble with brothers Guy and Magnus Johnson, while early music and opera fans will have a rare treat as the Early Opera Company give a semi-staged performance of Handel’s Acis and Galatea.

Lunchtime recitals will feature young, up and coming artists including Mina Middleton from Thrapston on flute and last year’s winner of the Oundle Festival of Music and Drama, Irena Radi on piano. Of course, there will also be recitals from acclaimed organists including Ann Elise Smoot, Anne Page and Iain Quinn.

And where better to watch Buster Keaton’s silent comedy classic The General accompanied by a soundtrack improvised by the virtuoso organist Richard Hills, than amidst the splendour of Peterborough Cathedral? Also taking place at the Cathedral will be evensong with the Choir of King’s College, London and a recital by Henry Fairs of the Birmingham Conservatoire.

If classical music doesn’t quite whet your whistle, the festival is bringing back a new favourite. Grab a group of friends and Sing-a-Long-A Dirty Dancing with an interactive screening of this hit classic at the Stahl theatre. Or bring along the family and a picnic to a Party at the Wharf. Watch a line-up of local bands support outstanding guitarist Ben Smith perform live on a summer’s evening with his band down by the waterfront.

If it’s theatre you’re after, then what could be more dramatic than an all-male cast, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, performing the world’s greatest love story, Romeo and Juliet? Or book to see the outstanding Illyria, performing Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine in an adaption by David Wood, full of larger-than-life characters, plenty to join in with and maybe just a twist of malicious fun.

Tickets are on sale now.

For more information, visit the website or phone the box office on 01832 274734.
4 New Street, Oundle, Northamptonshire, PE8 4ED

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