Ripon Festival ready for flying start

Brilliant Chinese pianist Chenyin Li.
Brilliant Chinese pianist Chenyin Li.

IT’S the big launch weekend for Ripon International Festival and its 14th year is looking set to be one of its best ever.

With several events sold out and others selling fast, excitement is building for tomorrow’s opening concert with The Orchestra of English Opera North.

Conducted by the festival’s artistic director, Janusz Piotrowicz, the programme at Ripon Cathedral Cathedral includes Weber, Dvorak Cello Concerto and Brahms’ passionate Symphony no 4.

Other classical music events include the brilliant Chinese pianist Chenyin Li playing Haydn, Debussy’s L’Isle Joyeuse and Chopin (Tuesday, September 6); a Concert by Candlelight in the magical setting of St Mary’s Church Nun Monkton with Lucy Wakeford harp and Kathryn Thomas flute (Thursday, September 8); one of the world’s finest young guitarists, Morgan Szymanski, in a programme of well-loved works by Barrios, Albeniz, Tarrega at Great Northern Wine (Monday, September 12) and The Halle Russian Gala at the Royal Hall (Saturday, September 17).

Because of demand, the Kosmos Ensemble is giving an extra concert on Thursday, September 15 at 10 am at Ripon Cathedral Choir School.

The trio will be joined by the dynamic young accordionist Milos Milivojevic for a scintillating gypsy, Jewish, Arabic programme.

Drama is provided by the young actress Rebecca Vaughan in the play I Elizabeth which she has toured to the Adelaide Festival, Kansas USA, Ireland and the UK.

Moving, passionate, superbly acted and directed, this is a must-see for theatre addicts (Tuesday, September 13). Literary celebrities include crime writer Ann Cleeves – winner of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award, the world’s largest award for crime fiction – at the Spa Hotel (Monday, September 5), comic writer, David Nobbs, creator of the TV series The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin presents A Lifetime in Comedy (Golden Fleece Thirsk, 11am, Friday, September 9) and more comedy is provided by The Archers characters Lilian and Caroline who bring their delightfully funny revue Wicked Women to Ripon (Friday, September 9 at 7.30pm at Ripon Leisure Centre).

Making their first appearance in Ripon is worldwide favourite African song and dance group, Black Umfolosi 5, all the way from Zimbabwe, performing traditional songs and dances in shimmering vocal harmonies and compulsive rhythms (Tuesday, September 20 at Holy Trinity Church)

For children, there’s the enchanting puppet show Fiddlesticks by the imaginative Garlic Theatre company (Saturday, September 24, 2.30pm, Ripon Leisure Centre).

Sold out: Jazz Repertory Company (Sunday, September 4); Historic Churches Tours (September 5 and 22);

Music at Markenfield Hall 2.30pm and 7.30pm (Wednesday, September 7); Kosmos Ensemble at Fountains Hall (Wednesday, September 141). Extra concert: Kosmos Ensemble at Cathedral Choir School (10am, Thursday, September 15)

Selling fast: Wicked Women (Friday, September 9), Kathryn Tickell (Saturday, September 10), The Hallé (Saturday, September 17), the Coal Porters (Sunday, September 18).

l For tickets, box office (except the Hallé), telephone 01765 603994 and 605508.

Bookings for The Hallé are through Harrogate Theatre: 01423 502116