Enthusiasm for this summer’s King’s Lynn Festival is expected to trigger a rush for tickets when the Festival box office opens on Monday.
The packed two-week programme of 30 events being staged on July 17-30 features world-famous names and has especially broad appeal.
“Our goal is to build on the success of last year’s record-breaking 65th Festival and we are delighted that this year’s programme has already created a lot of interest,” said chairman Alison Croose.
“Priority booking for sponsors, patrons and Friends has been very encouraging with ticket sales up on the same period last year,” she said.
“We work hard to keep ticket prices at a reasonable level so the Festival is accessible and we have been complimented on the modest prices for events featuring international names, said Mrs Croose.
To encourage young audiences a discounted tickets scheme for under 18s is supported by a fund set up in memory of Festival founder, Ruth Lady Fermoy.
Mrs Croose said the involvement of two major orchestras was a huge attraction – the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra will launch the Festival with an exciting programme featuring magical music from the movies plus classical favourites, and the equally popular Czech National Symphony Orchestra with its celebrated conductor Libor Pesek, returns to give the final concert.
The wide-ranging programme features top names from the worlds of classical music, jazz and folk plus exhibitions, films, talks and walks.
Clarinettist Emma Johnson will perform at the Ruth Fermoy Memorial Concert alongside the Piatti String Quartet – an event set to be a big draw.
Two musicians giving recitals in the Minster Church are already proving popular at the box office - Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt, renowned for her performances of Bach’s music, and Catrin Finch, the harpist who was honoured to become Royal Harpist to the Prince of Wales when the historic title was revived 16 years ago.
Festival favourite soprano Lesley Garrett, is set to attract audiences from far and wide. Festival organisers have heard from a fan who will be travelling from Manchester especially to hear a programme including much-loved arias, songs by George Gershwin and classics from 20th century musicals.
Another Lesley Garrett fan will have a much shorter journey – Gordon Eagle of Gaywood has been a member of the Lesley Garrett Fan Club for many years and is delighted she is to make her third appearance at Lynn Festival.
Adding to the variety will be jazz stars Ray Gelato and Claire Martin plus Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, and leading names from the folk world will be The Unthanks and Lau.
Speakers include Andrew Graham-Dixon, who will give two talks, one on his current Scandinavian Art project and the other on The Secrets of the Mona Lisa. Historian Suzannah Lipscomb will speak on The Wives of Henry VIII.
St Nicholas’ Chapel with its superb acoustic will be the setting for an uplifting concert, The Glories of English Choral Music, by King’s Lynn Festival Chorus. It will be one of several events featuring the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams 60 years after he conducted a festival concert in the chapel.
A second event in the chapel is based on T S Eliot’s Four Quartets which will be spoken by actress Juliet Stevenson with cellist Guy Johnston playing selections from Bach cello suites, and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, a poet and T S Eliot expert, discussing the texts.
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment’s concert will include works by Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann followed by a late-night harpsichord recital by David Wright.
The Festival visits West Acre Theatre for a Sunday afternoon concert and tea. The Alauda Quartet will provide the music and the next day will launch the series of five coffee concerts in Lynn Town Hall.
One of several events marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death will be the showing of Macbeth by King’s Lynn Community Cinema Club.
Featured musicians also include pianist Cordula Heiland and music by visiting composer Toby Young will be performed by the Contemporary Consort. The Royal Geographical Society/IBG talk by Tristan Gooley will be entitled How to read water.
Tickets are available from the box office at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange on 01553-764864 or online at www.kingslynnfestival.org.uk. For further information, or to request a brochure call the Festival office on 01553 767557.