This young talent really does beggar belief; The curtain comes down on a youthful joint effort tomorrow night. All the more reason to bag your tickets now, says Sam Wonfor.THE tercentenary ter·cen·ten·a·ry
n. pl. ter·cen·ten·a·ries
A 300th anniversary or its celebration.
Of or relating to a span of 300 years or to a 300th anniversary. of Geordie composer Charles Avison Charles Avison (February 1709, Tyne – May 9 or May 10, 1770, Newcastle upon Tyne) was an English composer during the Baroque and Classical periods. He was a church organist at St. John's Church in Newcastle and at St. Nicholas's Cathedral. has provoked a raft of events and activities throughout 2009 so far. As you would expect, the Avison Ensemble - the wonderful period orchestra which plays and popularises the music of Charles Avison and his composing contemporaries - have been at the heart of pretty much all of it and can be justifiably proud.
Concerts, talks, building dedications, book launches... it's all been very impressive, entertaining and thoroughly worthwhile.
But when you're talking about warm and fuzzy satisfaction, the slice of the year-long programme, which offers a culminating performance tomorrow night, must be up there with the best.
Tomorrow evening sees the closing performance of John Gay's Beggar's Opera at the recently refurbished Dryden Centre, Gateshead, performed by a young and very talented cast and orchestra.
Teenage members of First Act Theatre Company, under the direction of Stuart Bagnell, Barry and Michael Wilmott; and the Gateshead Youth Orchestra, directed by John Treherne; have come together - under the Avison Ensemble umbrella - to put on this series of special performances.
Incorporating 60 short songs, the production is of a fully staged, costumed and challenging nature.
Thankfully they've been going rather spiffingly so far.
"They've been wonderful," says the Ensemble's Francis Benton, referring to both the performances at the Jubilee Theatre The Jubilee Theatre, is a grade II listed building theatre. It opened in 1899 in St Nicholas Hospital, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. History in St Nicholas' Hospital in Gosforth, and the youngsters who have performed.
"And what's lovely is that the young people have got so much out of the process."
Not surprising when you consider that the teenagers in question (of which there are more than 100) have been attending masterclasses led by Avison director and harpsichord harpsichord, stringed musical instrument played from a keyboard. Its strings, two or more to a note, are plucked by quills or jacks. The harpsichord originated in the 14th cent. and by the 16th cent. Venice was the center of its manufacture. player, Robert Howarth Robert Lever Howarth (born 31 July, 1927) is a British politician from Bolton who was a Member of Parliament for six years. Earlier career
Howarth went to Bolton County Grammar School and then to Bolton Technical College where he trained as a draughtsman. and Ensemble soprano Lisa Wilson.
"It was important for us not only sponsor this project financially, but support it artistically as well," continues Francis.
"And that's what we have done through Robert and Lisa's involvement.
"Rehearsals started in early summer. They've all been working so hard and you can see that in their performances. We've had lots of feedback from the performers and their parents, telling us what a great experience it has been and how much the teenagers have gained from it."
The idea to put on a performance with a young cast as part of the Avison Tercentenary hoopla hoop·la
a. Boisterous, jovial commotion or excitement.
b. Extravagant publicity: The new sedan was introduced to the public with much hoopla.
2. , marking what would be Avison's 300th birthday, was first floated last year.
The Beggar's Opera was settled on as an appropriate choice, given the period in which it was written.
First performed in 1728, it caused a furore, being sung and acted in English rather than Italian, and dealing with a thoroughly disreputable dis·rep·u·ta·ble
Lacking respectability, as in character, behavior, or appearance.
dis·rep bunch of characters.
"And then we decided to take things a step further," says Francis, bringing us back to the utterly reputable characters she has been working with.
"We thought it might be a lovely idea to have a young orchestra playing the music, as well as a young cast performing. It's worked out wonderfully well. There are some really good singers and players in there."
The performances and associated masterclasses make up part of the Avison's education and outreach programme from 2009 and were funded by the Avison Ensemble's Tercentenary fund and the Northern Rock Foundation.
"We've been absolutely delighted to be involved with this," says Francis.
"It's been such an exciting project for everyone, and simply lovely that three North East organisations have worked together to put together something as special as this."
THE Beggar's Opera will be performed at the Dryden Centre, Shotley Gardens, Gateshead tomorrow night. Tickets, priced at pounds 6 for adults and pounds 4 for concessions are available from the First Act Box Office on (0191) 266-2506.
For more information, visit www.avisonensemble.com; or www.firstacttheatre.com.
SPECIAL PERFORMANCE The cast during rehearsals for John Gay's Beggar's Opera. TALENTED The young cast are made-up.