THE 2022 Northern Aldborough Festival gets underway tomorrow, with a glittering line-up of jazz, classical, opera and pop stars.

The two-week festival runs until to Saturday 25 June

Highlights include a rare appearance by the finest British bass of his era, Sir John Tomlinson, Blur’s Britpop rebel rock star turned cheesemaker, Alex James, and the hottest classical guitar player of the moment, Sean Shibe.

Sir John will star in a new opera by John Casken based on Shakespeare's King Lear. This year also sees the biggest undertaking in the festival’s history with a semi-staged in-house production of Handel’s Theodora.

Performed in Aldborough’s 14th Century St Andrew’s church, the 40-strong production sees a stellar line-up of soloists, chorus and orchestra under the baton of Baroque specialist, Julian Perkins. Theodora, played by soprano Fflur Wyn, will be directed by Joe Austin, whose recent credits include Aida at Houston Grand Opera and Katya Kabanova at the Royal Opera House.


St Andrews Church, Aldborough

St Andrew's Church, Aldborough


Robert Ogden, artistic director of the festival, who is also a counter tenor, said: “As a musician, running a festival, I am really passionate to break down barriers and aim to be innovative and artistically brave. The whole team at our small music charity are committed to the idea that you shouldn’t have to travel to London for this kind of world-class live experience.”


Festival director, Robert Ogden

Festival director, Robert Ogden


A charity, the festival’s core mission is to bring exceptional music to new audiences, in intimate rural locations where it would not normally be heard.

Other acts include an evening of jazz by Claire Martin, who was described by the Times as "easily the best British singer of her generation". Julian Bliss – one of the world’s pre-eminent clarinettists – will perform with leading pianist James Baillieu. Clare Hammond, a leading light on the UK piano scene, will play Schubert, Stravinsky and Schumann.

As well as established names, the festival supports young talent. It hosts a Young Artists Showcase, as well as the upcoming harp and saxophone duo, The Polaris Duo.

There will be a rare chance to hear the 25-year-old Chinese American musician, Reylon Yount, who has introduced the unfamiliar instrument, the Chinese yangqin, to the world stage.

Aldborough’s late-night venue The Shed will allow concert goers to extend their evening in a relaxed environment with a variety of live entertainment and refreshments.


The scene at a previous Northern Alddborough Festival

The scene at a previous Northern Alddborough Festival


Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred of Aldborough Manor will open up his ancient grounds to entertain festival goers at the festival finale – an outdoor concert with an orchestrated fireworks display that attracts up to 1,000 people.

Robert added: “There really is something for everyone. The festival is a chance to experience something really very special on our doorstep. It’s going to be incredible and a lot of much-needed fun, so we can’t wait to welcome audiences to be entertained, inspired and hopefully discover music they’ll fall in love with this summer.”

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