The Overstrand Festival of Early Music takes place this week from Wednesday to Sunday.

The north Norfolk event will feature the very first UK-based international lute competition with cash prizes.

It will see eight finalists from across the world (USA, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Mexico and the UK)  compete in The Belfry Centre in front of two judges who will decide on who walks away with the £1,000 top prize. 

The week will also feature a host of musicians from across the world, all coming together to create a series of concerts said to be unrivalled in this part of the world.

Keith Hobday, festival director, said: "Particularly for connoisseurs of music created before Mozart composed his first symphony we will see and hear music from the 16th, 17th & 18th centuries ranging from instrumental works by John Dowland, Praetorius, Corelli, Geminiani, and Handel to the sublime opera of Henry Purcell.

"Featuring the region's only professional period instrument ensemble – Norwich Baroque – plus the fabulous Bellot Ensemble and Flutes & Frets from London, the instrumental playing will be of the highest level throughout the week."

The week also features a new semi-staged production of the opera Dido & Aeneas at Templewood in Northrepps.

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