Over five hundred years of music will feature in the programme for the 2017 Conwy Classical Music Festival, which begins this weekend.
The festival, which runs from 23rd-29th July, is one of the largest music events in Wales not to charge for admission, relying only on audience donations and sponsorship.
Its work in promoting local talent from the area and in developing the cultural life of North Wales has won it the praise of celebrities in the music world such as Bryn Terfel.
Yet it remains a community event, organised by people from the Conwy area, and featuring local musical talent, alongside international artistes.
In 2017, the festival celebrates its thirteenth year with a programme of music ranging from the baroque era through to songs from the shows and a male voice choir.
The festival also features a rare chance to see a performance of Henry Purcell’s “King Arthur” one of the first opera’s to be written in English, staged by the Amici Del Canto chamber choir on Wednesday 26th July.
And the annual festival lecture will feature celebrated harpist Elinor Bennett telling the story of how the harp became the national instrument of Wales, and its role in the culture of the country.
Chris Roberts, who leads the team organising the festival, said: “we’re also delighted to support the careers of new talent from North Wales.
“Many of the performers at this year’s festival are building their musical careers. Who knows, the voices on stage in Conwy this year may be the voices to listen out for in the years to come!”
This year’s programme features several young singers from the area, young soprano Erin Gwyn, tenor Eleias Roberts and baritone Rhodri Brookes will be performing operatic arias and song from the shows on Monday lunchtime (24th July).
Then on Thursday evening, Elgan Llyr Thomas, from Craig y Don, takes to the stage. Widely regarded as one of Britain’s most promising young tenor voices, he will be joined by former Ysgol John Bright pupil Michaela Parry, Meinir Wyn from Caernarfon and Meilir Jones from Anglesey for ‘a night at the opera’.
Soprano Charlotte Forfar, mezzo soprano Eiry Price and baritone John Ieuan Jones complete the lineup of young local singers in the popular Saturday lunchtime slot on 29th July.
Chris Roberts, added: “the event has always aimed to put Conwy on the map and help attract people to the area. We hope the programme for this thirteenth year will be better than ever for the town.”
Other highlights of the week include a concert and choral workshop by the London-based early music specialists, The Marian Consort, and a performance by a specially formed Festival Orchestra of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major and Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony
The orchestra includes many musicians who play principal roles in leading UK ensembles.
Concerts take place in the historic St Mary’s church in the centre of Conwy. The Conwy Classical Music Festival begins on Sunday July 23rd with choral evensong, and runs for a week.