Planning The Festival 2016!

It seems a strange thing to be saying welcome to 2016 in May but as the Festival takes place in October, this appears to be a good idea. After all, the academic year starts in September so why can’t the Festival’s begin in the spring!

Much has happened this year. The last few months have been extremely busy just ‘living’. Do you find how much time it takes to round up the house, stock take, have the Aga serviced, make sure there are no burst pipes, go through files (the most boring job ever) – need I go on! The poor paper shredder got indigestion, emails got stuck and would you believe, a nice man from BT appeared out of the blue saying that our TV aerial had to be moved since it was attached (like a limpet) to the telegraph pole. This was not allowed (something to do with thunder storms). The fact that it had been like that for over 25 years was neither here nor there. This has meant moving on to satellite at vast expense.

In view of all this, it’s amazing that the Festival planning has found a slot in the diary! My brain works best at 3am at which point either the World Service or BBC Radio 3’s ‘Through the Night’ are inspirational. I have learnt much from the latter and have come across composers about whom I have never heard (not surprising really as some of their music is pretty awful!). However, the more dire it is, the more my imagination works. Strange, isn’t it, how one’s mind operates!

The upshot is that the programme for October (dates 22nd to 29th) is finalized. The downside is that it has to be kept under wraps until the 1st June. So you will have to wait patiently. Suffice to say that there is something tempting for everyone: early music, song recitals, likewise piano, chamber music and two Mix and Match days when a bunch of artists interchange to give open rehearsals as well as performances.

There is one huge concert in Exeter Cathedral. This is in memory of John Adie who died last year. At the same time we shall be launching the John Adie Memorial Appeal, about which there will be much more later on.

I so hope this blog will whet your appetite. Roll on October!

Penny Adie

May 2016

Simon Callow At The Two Moors Festival!

We’re very excited to announce that acclaimed actor Simon Callow will be taking centre stage at this year’s Two Moors Festival – something of a coup for classical music festivals in the UK and a production that we’re definitely looking forward to later on this month.

On October 23rd at Exeter Cathedral from 19:30, a fundraising concert in aid of the Addington Fund and the Two Moors Festival will be put on, with the programme including Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and the Orchestra of the Swan on hand to provide audiences with the most beautiful classical music.

Callow will be the narrator for our performance of Peter and the Wolf and artistic director Penny Adie had this to say about the forthcoming event: “To have such esteemed actor as Simon Callow narrating Peter and the Wolf is extremely exciting. An actor’s voice is his most precious instrument and in Callow’s case, his resounding tones combined with impeccable diction will bring unique qualities to the story-telling.”

Callow is one of the most respected stage and screen actors in the UK, having starred in the likes of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Chance in a Million and Little Napoleons. Aside from being a star of stage and screen, Callow is also a renowned director and writer, but he is also known for his passion for classical music.

Not only has he directed operatic productions and appeared alongside numerous orchestras over the years, but written about various composers and fronted a range of classical music documentaries as well. There could be no better person to take on the role of narrator for Peter and the Wolf at this year’s 15th anniversary of the Two Moors Festival.

 

Winner Of Our Tarka The Otter Opera Ticket Competition Revealed

As you’re all no doubt already aware, our series of classical music concerts is creeping up on us – not long to go now until October 15th! We hope you’re all as excited as we are about the two-week event. It’s our 15th anniversary so there are some extra-special performances going on by way of celebrations.

And one of those is two performances of our acclaimed opera Tarka the Otter, based on the book by Henry Williamson. It was greatly received by all (and succeeded in scoring itself a 4* review in the Times) so if you have bought tickets for this year’s event then you know you’re in for something really rather special.

If you’re an avid reader of the Two Moors Festival blog then you’ll know that we recently ran a competition offering two tickets to Tarka the Otter worth £28 each on October 20th at 19:30 at Exeter Cathedral down here in Devon.

The competition has now closed and we’re delighted to announce that the winner, picked at random, is Patrick Robinson. Patrick, if you’re reading this please do drop us a line via the Box Office on (01643) 831 006. Alternatively, get in touch via Facebook and send us a message.

We hope you enjoy the performance. We’d love to hear what you think of it. See you there!

Top 10 Classical Music Blogs!

As a UK classical music festival, we here at the Two Moors Festival are always following and reading other organisations’ and bloggers’ websites. There are some really brilliant classical music blogs out there so it’s amazing for us to announce that we’ve been featured in the top ten list of all classical music blogs in the UK.

Compiled by Cision (now Vuelio), the rundown includes Jessica Duchen’s Classical Music Blog, Planet Hugill, The Cross-Eyed Pianist, Boulezian, British Classical Music: The Land of Lost Content, Where’s Runnicles?, Richard Bratby, new:dots, Classical Iconoclast and us, the Two Moors Festival.

We’re so honoured to be given a mention and in such seriously good company, so thank you very much Cision/Vuelio for valuing our blog and giving us a mention for the work we do in the classical music sphere.

We urge you to go and have a look at the other blogs in the top ten – there’s some amazingly interesting stuff being written about and if you’re interested in this genre of music, then your reading list should certainly include all of these blogs.

Have you already come across any of these blogs before? Which of them are your favourites and why? We’d love to hear what you find so inspiring about each of them so come along and drop us a line in the comments below.

State of play in the Festival’s run-up

67 days to go until UK classical music festival The Two Moors Festival begins…

When I think of how much there is to do in only 67 days, it is positively daunting. It’s better not to dwell and just get on with it.

Business is brisk in the Box Office – a relief as it would be seriously worrying were it not so. Friends’ bookings are healthy and the number of new Friends is up on last year. This is positive in itself and a good boost to morale. It also gives our wonderful person running the Office plenty to do. We are so lucky this year in having Oxford music undergraduate, Rebecca McNaught to help. Not only is she a super person, but is brilliant at the job and great on the phone giving would-be ticket purchasers all the information they need before they make up their minds to buy tickets.

Talking of the Box Office, we must be one of the few festivals to have a real person at the end of the phone. We guarantee that whoever speaks has specialist knowledge and who knows how to pronounce indecipherable names such as Ibragimova and Shostakovich. It is amazing how much difference this makes to ticket sales!

Tackling PR is vital at this time of year. The trouble is where to start as there are so many avenues of possibility. The other problem is how to cover 1,200 square miles of festival patch. We are fortunate in that the local press and regional magazines such as Devon Life are keen to include features. Local radio also sparks as does BBC TV’s ‘Spotlight’ providing there is something to film – concerts by and large do not make good television! The national media is becoming more supportive than ever and as I type, there has been a splendid article in Classical Music Magazine as well as promises from the press and various Listings.

Classic FM has done us proud over the years and we’re crossing fingers that they might be able to give us air-time as they have in previous years. There is also BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ which we try to interest – successfully a number of times.

There is the series of run-up concerts in the Ticket Office at Tiverton Parkway’s Ticket Office. These may sound totally off the wall. Well, they are! The concerts do not disrupt the everyday working of the station; people come and go and it’s quite often that someone might be asking whether they might need to change at Birmingham New Street while Bach is providing the background music. We never stop the ongoing business of raising funds to cover costs. How tedious this is for my husband, John. We wouldn’t survive without his Trojan efforts.

One of the main jobs to do in August is assembling the programme. It’s true to say that this is a nightmare. Inserting notes and biographies are the easy bits. The hardest part lies in achieving consistency in the way a work is written. Does one write Sonata in E major Op. 14 No.1 or Sonata Op. 14 No.1 in E – the options are endless!

On which note, I will end and give readers the next instalment in a few days’ time.

Win! 2 Tickets To Tarka The Otter, The Opera

As a UK classical music festival, we’re always coming up with new and exciting concerts and performances to keep you all entertained – and this year is certainly no exception.

At the Two Moors Festival’s main two-week event in October this year (our 15th anniversary), we’re putting on two more performances of our highly successful and critically acclaimed opera Tarka the Otter. (It received a 4* review from Times critic Richard Morrison when it premiered at RHS Rosemoor back in 2006 – so is very much a must-see event.)

If you missed the debut performance, don’t worry. We’ve got two tickets worth £28 each to give away to the first showing of Tarka the Otter The Opera at this year’s Two Moors Festival, taking place on October 20th at 19:30 at Exeter Cathedral in Devon.

To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic prize and the once-in-a-lifetime chance of seeing our very special opera, all you have to do is post this blog post up on Twitter or Facebook and tag us in the post. The winner will be drawn at random from all the entries on August 31st.

You can find us on Facebook here and Twitter here.

And keep an eye on the blog as we’ll be running another ticket competition in the coming weeks.

The Opera Of Tarka The Otter At The Two Moors Festival 2015

Back in 2004, we here at the Two Moors Festival decided it would be a good idea to commission an opera based on Henry Williamson’s much-loved novel Tarka the Otter – a great addition to the listings of Devon music festivals, we thought.

For those who haven’t read it, the book has great ties to this part of the world, set as it is in the very heart of Exmoor. Williamson wrote it after returning to Devon following WWI and his experiences at that time can be seen creeping into the work itself.

In 2006, our opera premiered at RHS Rosemoor and was so successful that Times critic Richard Morrison gave it a 4* review.

As part of our celebrations of the Two Moors Festival’s 15th anniversary, we’re proud to bring Tarka the opera back once more and hope that if you didn’t manage to see it last time, you are able to get tickets this year.

Composed by Stephen McNeff and directed by Thomas Guthrie, part of the original idea of putting on such an opera was – much like Noye’s Fludde – to involve the local communities as much as possible. Consequently, many children from local schools take to the stage as ducks and eels – and it’s certainly a sight to behold.

This year, the production will take place at Exeter Cathedral on October 21st – which audiences that saw it last time will no doubt appreciate, since the opera’s debut took place in a marquee!

Tickets cost between £10 and £35, and can be purchased via the Two Moors Festival box office. Make sure you book early as this is sure to be a sell-out show.

See what else is on at this year’s two-week event in October on our website.

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