Symphony Orchestra in city park

TONY COOPER A rousing night is in store for concertgoers who venture to Norwich's Earlham Park this Saturday night, August 21, to hear the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra.

TONY COOPER

A rousing night is in store for concertgoers who venture to Norwich's Earlham Park this Saturday night, August 21, to hear the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra. They're making their annual visit to the city with their all-action Proms Spectacular conducted by Roderick Dunk.

And Annette Wardell, the guest soprano, knows what it's like to sing to large audiences. In 2002 she was on the pitch of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for the FA Cup Final and also made her Glyndebourne opera debut as a principal in the same year. She also premiered the role of Susanna in a wacky adaptation of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro for the Covent Garden Festival, which was set in a Jerry Springer-type chat show.

The concert actually opens with a one-hour jazz set by a superb singer who is no stranger to Norwich, having appeared several times to great acclaim at Norwich Playhouse – Lee Gibson. She will be accompanied by a quartet of top British musicians.

David Gelly, a leading London jazz critic, said of her: “As far as I'm concerned there can never be too much Lee Gibson. Whether she's singing with the BBC Big Band or Holland's vast Metropole Orchestra, or with a simple jazz trio, she lights up any song with her musicality.”

The main programme will, as usual, conclude with an hour-long firework and lighting display, all brilliantly choreographed to the finest and most popular classical music, ending, of course, with Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia! – two of the best-known numbers from the famous Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

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And the man with the baton in his hand comes with plenty of experience. He was a member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra – the orchestra that regularly plays for the 'real' Last Night – for many years. He played the big bass fiddle.

He frequently appears with the BBC Concert Orchestra in broadcasts of Friday Night is Music Night on BBC Radio 2.

When he took over the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra in 2001 as artistic director, he broadened the orchestra's repertoire with new and exciting programmes ranging from the traditional symphonic repertoire to opera, ballet, film and show music.

He also instigated a series of innovative symphonic pop concerts paying tribute to the popular music scene of the 1970s. The orchestra's versatility across such a range of styles certainly puts them at the forefront of modern orchestral style in the UK.As usual, there will be good facilities on site, which includes a concert restaurant, licensed bar and hot and cold refreshments.

Lee Gibson opens the programme at 6.30pm with the main concert starting at 8pm and ending at 10.30pm. Gates open as early as 4.30pm. Get your picnic stuff together and don't forget a valuable piece of engineering equipment – the all-important corkscrew!t If you cannot get to the Norwich date, you can catch them at Sandringham on Sunday August 29. Tickets: adults £22, children (5-16) £13 – on the day: £26/£16 – available from Norwich Theatre Royal. P 01603 630000

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