Tuesday 5 April 2022

Six world premieres, celebrating RVW and Abba, a pop-up Handel opera: Ryedale Festival returns with 52 concerts

Sledmere House - one of the venues for this year's Ryedale Festival
Sledmere House - one of the venues for this year's Ryedale Festival

Having kept last year's festival deliberately low key [see my interview with artistic director Christopher Glynn, A gloriously offline moment] the Ryedale Festival returns in July 2022 for 52 concerts involving some 300 performers. As ever, the festival mixes a variety of historic venues, from quieter churches in out of the way places, to iconic venues such as Ampleforth Abbey, Hovingham Hall and Castle Howard.

There is a focus on the new and the old this year. There will be premieres from Julian Philips, Errollyn Wallen, Tarik O’Regan, Roxanna Panufnik, Joseph Howard, Roberts Balanas and Callum Au, plus celebrations of RVW's 150th birthday as well as celebrating the 50th birthday of Abba! There is a pop-up production of Handel's pastoral gem Acis and Galatea which will visit three ancient churches.

Artists in residence include baritone Roderick Williams, the Maxwell Quartet, San Francisco's Philharmonia Baroque (their first UK tour in over a decade), the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and the Gesualdo Six, but there is also a chance to hear Dame Janet Baker in conversation, and pianist Stephen Kovacevich in recital, whilst the festival opens with the seven Kanneh-Mason siblings in concert.

There is a strong focus on Ryedale Festival Young Artists. Violinist Roberts Balanas performs a late-night candlelit concert, while the Scottish accordionist Ryan Corbett sets out on a ‘troubadour trail’ bringing music, from Bach to Tchaikovsky, to beautiful and little-known churches across Ryedale. Siân Dicker, soprano, and Krystal Tunnicliffe, pianist, create a relaxed, informal and interactive concert for people living with dementia, their friends, family and carers – and anyone else who would like to attend. And bassoonist Ashby Mayes collaborates with Krystal Tunnicliffe in an enterprising programme performed at one of the festival’s many Coffee Concerts. 

A new partnership with the Richard Shephard Foundation is working in primary schools to is transform the festival’s engagement with children across Yorkshire and supports Seven Mercies, a new Community Song Cycle by Joseph Howard and Emma Harding, inspired by the famous murals of Pickering Church. A celebration of local heritage and talent, about countering difficult times through small acts of kindness, Seven Mercies will be performed on 21 May at the Church of St Peter and St Paul Pickering, and is one of two major elements of the festival taking place outside the main festival period in July.

In October, the Hallé Orchestra and Chorus, Natalya Romaniw, Alice Coote, Thomas Atkins and James Platt with conductor Sir Mark Elder come together to perform Verdi’s Requiem in York Minster. 

The Ryedale Festival runs from 15-31 July 2022, full details from the festival website.

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