Curtains go up on White Rose Winter Music Festival

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THE curtains go up at Harewood House thisThursday night for the opening show of the 2011 White Rose Winter Music Festival – one of the leading classical music festivals in the UK.

The festival, now in its second year, has been acknowledged by reviewers for bringing something quite unique to Yorkshire’s calendar both musically and socially.

The event which is sponsored by Welcome to Yorkshire, Jaguar and Mazars runs from November 17-19 and offers a varied programme of leading light classical musical productions ranging from evocative Opera to the razzamatazz of the West End – all performed by a professional cast and supported each night by one of the UK’s leading professional orchestras.

Opening night features A Night at the Opera, followed by A Night in the West End on Friday and finishing in a rousing red, white and blue finale on the Saturday with A Night at the Proms.

The 2011 show programme has been developed by Harrogate based Classical Music company, Ultimate Musical Entertainment, which promises to continue the high standards set in 2010 by London based producer Raymond Gubbay, with an exciting new programme and dazzling cast of leading professional singers and musicians.

Anna Cunningham, Director of Ultimate Musical Entertainment sai; “It has been tough to get it to this point, but now we are there, its fabulous.

“We’ve got a 44 piece orchestra and 40 people in the chorus with a terrific cast of professional soloists, so I know it will look and sound fantastic!”

The three shows will all be staged inside The Pavilion, Harewood House’s permanent, heated, indoor event space, which will be transformed into a magical theatre overlooking the front facade of the main house which will be lit up each night to create a dramatic stage backdrop.

The festival which launched successfully last December at Ripley Castle drew in over 2,000 audience members, despite the snowy conditions and is set to bring in similar audience numbers again this year.

Welcome to Yorkshire, one of the main festival sponsors was delighted with the response to the new festival and its contribution to Winter Tourism with over 15% of the 2010 audience coming from outside Yorkshire.

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Last year saw this festival makes its debut to great acclaim and we’re sure it will go from strength to strength this time around.

“It offers visitors something completely different and adds to Yorkshire’s quality and varied festival line-up. Festivals overall are big business and not only attract thousands of visitors, but are worth around £500m to the county’s economy.”

Emma Ramply, one of the festival directors comments on the success of the festival over the last two years.

She said: “It was such a boost to receive such complimentary comments from reviewers and audience members alike after the launch of the festival last year and it has been greatly reassuring and a great relief to receive an equally good uptake on tickets this year.

“We have tried to ensure that all the shows carry mass appeal so, for example, even the greenest of opera goers will recognise and love the opera repertoire and fall in love with the cast who are all amazing, including our two young stars Emma Hart and Ravi Patel. I think it’s the perfect winter pick me up which everyone should enjoy!”

For more information about the 2011 White Rose Winter Music Festival at Harewood House, or to book tickets online visit www.whiterosefestivals.com or call the festival office on 01423 563563.

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