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Harrogate will soon be alive to the sounds of Gilbert & Sullivan

The world famous International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival opens its 22nd season in Harrogate 1 -23 August with another memorable programme of Gilbert and Sullivan.

There is no doubt that a major highlight  this year will be the seventeen performances of the critically acclaimed National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company with four brand new productions – The Mikado, The Gondoliers, HMS Pinafore and Patience. They will open the Festival on 1 August in Harrogate International Centre with a much anticipated production of The Gondoliers directed by John Savournin, recently described as one of the “finest G&S actor/directors of the present day” .  This will be followed by HMS Pinafore on Sunday 2 August.  Special opening weekend tickets are priced at just £15 each.

The Festival moves to the  Harrogate Royal Hall on Monday 3 August with an outstanding mix of opera companies from as far afield as New York and Cape Town bringing an additional thirty full scale Gilbert & Sullivan productions – each performance accompanied by the  National Festival Orchestra.

Complimentary pre-theatre talks will be presented each evening prior to the performance.

Gilbert and Sullivan remain the world’s favourite theatrical partnership. The festival offers audiences – young and old alike – the opportunity to enjoy the wit and magic of Gilbert and Sullivan performed by some of the country’s leading exponents of these world famous Savoy operas – artistes renowned for their work in these quintessentially British masterpieces

The Festival also welcomes full scale productions in the Harrogate Theatre from eight leading British University Gilbert & Societies who will compete in the UNIFest competition.  The students never fail to amaze audiences with their outstanding originality, energy and creativity.   The popular Youth Production, always a Festival highlight, returns to Harrogate Theatre on Saturday 15 August with a matinee performance of The Pirates of Penzance.

A rare performance of The Golden Legend will be conducted by rising star James Hendry in the magnificent setting of Ripon Cathedral on Saturday 15 August.  Soloists include National G&S Opera Company stars Sylvia Clarke and Bruce Graham supported by the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and members of local choral societies.  They will be accompanied by the 40-piece Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra.

Following his resounding success at last year’s Festival Hendry will also conduct another special Sullivan concert in St Peter’s Church, Harrogate on Friday 14 August,.  This year’s concert will focus on some of Sullivan’s exquisite chamber music and a highlight of the evening will be a performance of Sullivan’s only song cycle, The Window or, the Song of the Wrens, in which Sullivan sets the text of the great Victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.

International opera star, Donald Maxwell will treat visitors to a concert in the delightful Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond on Sunday 16 August.

A three day W S Gilbert seminar includes  the rarely performed Gilbert play The Gentleman in Black.  The piece is the rarest of all Gilbertian rarities following the loss of the music, written by Frederic Clay, over a hundred years ago.  For this performance, music has been being specially commissioned, in the original style, by Ian Lawson, G&S specialist.

A three day Sullivan programme includes a presentation by Sullivan’s great-great nephew Scott Hayes from the USA.

Over forty speakers will take part in a packed fringe programme and the nightly Gilbert & Sullivan Festival Club opens at 10 pm until the early hours to ensure round- the-clock entertainment.

The Gilbert & Sullivan Festival is fun, it’s friendly, it’s for all the family and a very warm Yorkshire welcome awaits.

Full programme available

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