The History of the Festival
Mr Robert Parker, the owner of the Robert Parker Collection, and his wife Gina, have been overcome by the response to all the Festivals.
When we started out, in 2011, we were naturally anxious that the project would meet with success, gain admirers throughout the North East, and become an established part of the cultural calendar of the region.
We gained some valuable partners along the way – Much Loved Productions and Heritage Opera provided the sparkle and professionalism from the international music scene. The remarkable ensemble of young musicians we know as the Northumbrian Ranters has also been with us, along with Much Loved, since the beginning. Jeremy Peaker, Much Loved’s Managing Director, was responsible for the programme we put together for 2015.
We have introduced nearly all forms of music to the festival over the last 5 years. Musical highlights have included piano, chamber and brass. We have been entertained by Opera North, members of D’Oyly Carte Opera, and The British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. We have heard from the world of Jazz and musical theatre. From our own region the Festival has boomed with the challenge of brass, and been thrilled by the masculine harmonies of the Felling Male Voice Choir.
Last year saw us change to a single venue, and we presented two operas from Heritage Opera, had Gala nights devoted to Spanish Opera, and the liquid gold of the Three English Tenors, and once again our old friends from D’Oyly Carte returned for a fifth helping of the delicious (and sometime malicious) delights of Gilbert and Sullivan.
The notes of Northumberland and the tones and tunes of Tyneside were at the heart of the programme and we welcomed back Graeme Danby, and his musical partner Valerie Reid, and we stood and cheered the return of The Ranters, who collectively prove music is alive and well in the younger generation.
This year sees our group of hotels expanding, and our footprint extends into Scotland and The Lake District. The Festival is to visit all of them – over a period of 5 months, we will be “on Tour”, one weekend at a time to Doxford Hall, Eshott Hall, Dalhousie Castle, Ednam House, and The Wordsworth Hotel.
Heritage Opera and Much Loved Productions will be back, as well as The Northumbrian Ranters and Graeme Danby – to ensure that The Festival never forgets its Northumbrian roots.
We hope you will be able to join us!