King's Lynn Festival preview

Alison Croose Bumper ticket sales are set to make this summer’s King’s Lynn Festival one of the most successful ever. Here ALISON CROOSE finds out what’s in store for the 2008 programme.

Alison Croose

Visitors will be travelling from as far afield as America and Australia for the 58th King's Lynn Festival, which begins on Sunday, July 13.

World-famous flautist Sir James Galway, pianist John Lill, the Black Dyke Band, poet laureate Andrew Motion, tenor Alfie Boe, historian Michael Wood and folk stars John Tams and Barry Coope are some of the top names converging on Lynn for the two-week feast of music and the arts.

Festival administrator Joanne Mawson said: “There has been great public enthusiasm because this summer's programme has very broad appeal, and that huge interest has been translated into big business at the box office.”

There is a waiting list for tickets for Sir James Galway, who last appeared at Lynn in 1992, and will this year be accompanied by his wife and fellow flautist Lady Jeanne Galway.

Other events - including a series of five morning coffee concerts on July 21-25 - are expected to be sell-outs by the time they take place.

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Festival artistic director Ambrose Miller has described the programme as “an exceptional collection of talent, which rivals any festival in the UK”.

“Sir James Galway, who now lives in Switzerland, will make one of his rare appearances in England,” said Mr Miller. “And it's a real coup that the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, which will be conducted by Libor Pesek, is flying over especially for its appearance at Lynn and one other date in Britain.”

Pianist John Lill, who gave a recital attended by the late Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales to mark the 50th festival, is welcomed back.

The Black Dyke Band thrilled the audience at the festival's opening concert in 2005 and is set to do the same on July 13 with a programme of traditional brass band classics.

New faces will include tenor Alfie Boe, a rising star of the opera world, the St Petersburg String Quartet and poet laureate Andrew Motion.

Trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins has won many admirers on previous visits to Lynn. He is set to entertain at a family event entitled Hosepipes, Horns and Trumpets as well as at a concert when he will be the soloist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

The entertainment will also include an illustrated talk by historian Michael Wood and a performance of Haydn's The Creation by King's Lynn Festival Chorus and the Orchestra of the Swan.

t Tickets: King's Lynn Corn Exchange box office, Tuesday Market Place, King's Lynn, 01553 764864;

t For programme details, visit www.kingslynnfestival.org.uk or call the festival office on 01553 767557 for a brochure.

CRISPIAN STEELE-PERKINS (July 19)

Hosepipes do not normally feature in the title of a concert - but the garden essential will be among the musical instruments played by world-famous trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins at a family concert during the festival.

He will present what promises to be a lively occasion when he introduces the audience to some of his huge collection of 100 musical instruments.

The ancient Lynn town centre church of All Saints, with its excellent acoustic, will provide the setting for Hosepipes, Horns and Trumpets at 11am on Saturday, July 19, when Steele-Perkins will tell the story of the trumpet by demonstrating his fascinating array of brass instruments.

“I always enjoy being part of Lynn Festival as it has a nice friendly atmosphere and some wonderful historic venues,” he said. “It will be an informative, entertaining and fun event.”

Steele Perkins will also be the soloist at Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenments early music concert at St Margaret's Church at 7.30pm the same day, when he teams up with the baroque orchestra.

ALFIE BOE (July 22)

As a teenager, Blackpool-born Alfie Boe took part in an amateur production of West Side Story, and so enjoyed it he decided he wanted to sing to earn a living.

He sang his favourite arias to entertain his workmates at the garage where he was an apprentice mechanic - and had a lucky break when he was overheard by a customer who worked in the music industry.

Out of 1,000 hopefuls, he won an audition to join the D'Oyly Carte Opera company and is now a tenor in great demand on the concert platform and in operatic productions.

A busy schedule includes an appearance at King's Lynn Festival on Tuesday, July 22, when 33-year-old Boe will introduce and perform popular operatic arias and songs from his latest CD, La Passione.

“I just love singing, whether it is to three people or 3,000,” said Boe, who sang two solos at the recent wedding of the Princess Royal's son Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly at Windsor Chapel.

This spring he also took part in English National Opera's production of The Merry Widow and stepped into a leading role in Der Rosen Kavalier at four hours notice when a singer was taken ill.