comes of age

Caroline MacPhie, soprano, soloist in Mozart Gala at Ripon International Festival on September 8.
Caroline MacPhie, soprano, soloist in Mozart Gala at Ripon International Festival on September 8.

Ripon International Festival gets off to a flying start this weekend in its 15th anniversary year with a concert on Sunday at Helpbery Millennium Hall by the dynamic folk ensemble INCA whose skills on South American folk music instruments can be heard on sound-tracks of films such as The Mission, Harry Potter and Braveheart.

More musical treats are in store later in the week with the distinguished Allegri Quartet in Haydn, Beethoven and Tchaikovksy at Ripon Cathedral on Thursday, September 6 and a stunning Mozart Gala with Northern Sinfonia and outstanding young soprano and baritone soloists such as Caroline MacPhie at the cathedral on Saturday, September 8.

For a rare musical and historical experience, the vibrant musicians of Eclipse-baroque bring a delectable combination of harps, recorders, viol, and beautiful singing at the moated mediaeval manor, Markenfield Hall on Tuesday, September 11.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is at Harrogate’s Royal Hall on September 15 with an epic programme of symphonic masterpieces: the explosive opening being Beethoven’s Fidelio overture: in this short piece, the genius of Beethoven is encapsulated with every emotion expressed.

Schubert’s powerful and poignant Unfinished symphony, the Peer Gynt Suite and Dvorak’s New World Symphony complete the programme.

Both orchestral concerts are conducted by Janusz Piotrowicz, whose formidable authority, concentrated energy and emotional intensity guarantee high octane performances; his meticulous attention to dynamics brings every work he conducts into vibrant new life.

There are solo dramas Austen’s Women and Truly Yours – the story of Charlotte Bronte; Ollie Mealing, magician, shows his dazzling card tricks; Eduardo Niebla flamenco/jazz trio, Red Priest, Eve Loiseau in Piaf: The Songs; the fantastic black-light theatre International Purves Puppets bring their imaginative show Nessie The Loch Ness Monster and Cabinets of Curiosity present Stories in a Secret Garden.

The literary strand is provided by crime writer Andrew Martin, comic writer Mike Pannett and the award-winning Simon Armitage.

The latter is one of Britain’s most beloved writers. and for this event at Ripon Spa Hotel on Tuesday, September 18, he will be reading from his new book Walking Home about walking the Pennine Way as a modern troubadour.

Contemplative, moving and droll, as befits a man whose poems are carved in stone on the celebrated new Stanza Stones trail, Armitage vividly evokes the spirit of the northern landscape.

The 15th Ripon International Festival will come to a rousing finale with The Rhos Male Voice Choir at Ripon Cathedral on Saturday, September 22.

For tickets for any of the events, telephone 01765 603994 & 01423 502116 or book onlineat

For the full list of festival events, visit