THE 2018 Ryedale Festival opens tomorrow with the Royal Northern Sinfonia giving the first evening concert at Hovingham Hall, Hovingham.

After the graceful charm of Lady Radnor’s Suite of dances by Parry, to mark the composer’s centenary, Tamsin Waley-Cohen will be the soloist for Bruch’s cherished, captivating Violin Concerto in G minor. Director Bradley Creswick then will turn to Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 1, a rarely heard piece full of verve, poetry and energy, all the more remarkable for being composed when Mendelssohn was only 15.

Hovingham Hall will be the setting for the Final Gala Concert too on July 29 when long-time collaborator Rachel Podger joins the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment once more at 5.30pm to explore two of Mozart’s greatest violin concertos, No 1 in B flat and No 5 in A, alongside the exhilarating, twisting, turning and darkly passionate but rarely performed Symphony in G minor by Johann Christian Bach, son of Johann Sebastian, and more famous than J S in 18th century London.

Baroque violinist Podger also will be participating in a Coffee Concert, Solo Deo Gloria 3, at St Michael and All Angels Church, Garton on the Wolds, on July 27 at 11am, when she will be joined by actor Alex Jennings, last seen playing Peter Bessell alongside Hugh Grant’s Jeremy Thorpe in BBC1’s A Very English Scandal.

Podger will perform two Bach suites for cello, No 2 in D minor and No 4 in E flat, transposed for violin, complemented by Jennings reading poems by Wallace Stevens about the space, bridged by imagination, between reality and God.

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, will be joined at Ampleforth Abbey on July 18 at 8pm by the viol consort Fretwork to perform Gibbons’s See, The Word Is Incarnate and This Is The Record Of John. They will then celebrate the festival’s composer in residence, Judith Weir, the Master of the Queen’s Musick, with her works Illuminare, Jerusalem and Ascending Into Heaven and later mark the centenary of Parry’s death by singing four of his Songs of Farewell.

The Orchestra of Opera North will head from Leeds to Scarborough on July 21 to play at the Spa Grand Hall under Renato Balsadonna’s baton at 7.30pm. Liverpudlian mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge, one of Britain’s fastest-rising young singer, will perform Elgar’s Sea Pictures in between Beethoven’s most famous symphony, No 5 in C minor, and the emotional catharsis of Brahms’ final symphony, No 4 in E minor.

The Ryedale Festival Opera will be a new production of Cosi Fan Tuttte, Mozart’s comedy of duty, desire and lost innocence, conducted by Eamonn Dougan and directed by Nina Brazier, at Ampleforth College Theatre on Saturday at 6pm and Monday at 7pm.

Other stories of growing up will be exploited in pianist Alexandra Dariescu’s The Nutcracker And I at the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York, on Sunday at 8pm and Alan Bennett’s play Hymn at Birdsall House on July 23 at 8pm.

Dariescu will play some of the most loved ballet music of all time in a multimedia performance for pianist, ballerina, hand-drawn digital animation and anyone who dares to dream, as she relates her own story as Clara, a little girl from Romania who came to Yorkshire as a child and grew up to be a concert pianist.

Heath Quartet, Carducci Quartet and Alex Jennings will present Alan Bennett and George Fenton’s Hymn and Mendelssohn’s exuberant Octet, composed when he was 16. The melancholic Hymn is a series of memoirs with music recalling Bennett’s Leeds childhood, when his father, a butcher, tried to teach him the violin but with little success.

The festival’s celebrated Triple Concert at Castle Howard on July 19 at 7pm will feature the ground-breaking Chineke! performing Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s exploration of his African heritage in Nonet in F minor; Fretwork and mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson’s programme of Byrd, Debussy, Purcell and Michael Nyman in the Chapel and the Albion Quartet playing Beethoven’s playful, warm and contented Quartet No 10 in E flat major, The Harp, in the Great Hall.

The great American pianist Richard Goode will give a 7.30pm recital at Duncombe Park on July 22, taking in Haydn, Berg and Beethoven sonatas and a sequence of Chopin pieces, from Nocturne in B major to Barcarolle in F-sharp major.

Two musicians who performed at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19 will be appearing at Ryedale Festival. Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas will be accompanied by lutenist Elizabeth Kenny for Game Of Thrones, a late-night candlelit concert at Al Saints’ Church, Helmsley, on July 22 at 9.45pm, while teenage cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year, will be joined by his piano-playing sister, Isata, in the Castle Howard Long Gallery on Cello Day, July 24 at 8pm to perform sonatas by Boccherini, Poulenc,Debussy and Brahms.

The full festival programme can be found at; tickets are on sale on 01751 475777 or at

The Press will be reviewing the Royal Northern Sinfonia tomorrow; Ryedale Festival Opera, Monday; The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Wednesday; Triple Concert, Castle Howard, Thursday; Judith Weir recital, St Mary’s Priory, Old Malton, July 20, and Richard Goode, July 22. Further reviews will follow.