St Endellion 53rd Summer Festival of Music

The devil, it turns out, is in the detail. When Mark Padmore passed on to me the Artistic Director reins for the 2011 Summer Festival I little realised how technical the discussions would get, or how quickly. For a couple of months now the conductor Martyn Brabbins has been exchanging hugely detailed emails with Yasha Morgenstern, stage manager supremo, as to how a Wagner orchestra might conceivably fit into the church. If the wind and brass go at the back, will the 3rd desk of violins be able to lift their bows without hitting the pulpit? And where will the timps go?

Well, we’ll keep you posted on that one. As emails fly, other plans for Summer 2011 are advancing apace. Our multi-talented chorus will be displaying their versatility as never before. In the realm of the sacred, they will join the orchestra in the opening concert (July 27) in Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms . They’ll show off their baroque skills on August 4 in Handel’s Coronation Anthem My Heart is Inditing and sing unaccompanied Rachmaninoff’s Vespers in their own late-night, candle-lit concert on August 3. But they’ll be flashing their ankles, too, in a distinctly secular Sunday night confection, Hollywood Chorus (July 31). As the ladies wash that man right out of their hair, the gentlemen will discover, if they’d ever forgotten, that there’s nothing like a dame. Their final choral contribution features the Edwardian splendour of Stanford’s Songs of the Sea (August 4), as backing group to one of Endellion’s favourite sons, Roderick Williams.

As the chorus rehearses in the church hall, the church itself will ring to the sound of Wagner. Has Die Walküre been performed in Cornwall before? We proudly believe not. And we’re proud too of the cast we’ve assembled, headed up by acclaimed international Wagnerians Susan Bullock, as Brünnhilde, and Robert Hayward, as Wotan. Two more festival favourites, Rachel Nicholls and Richard Berkeley-Steele have been confirmed as the ill-starred lovers, Sieglinde and Siegmund. We’ll perform the opera three times in total: twice in the church, (July 30 and August 5) and once in Truro’s Hall for Cornwall (August 2). It’ll be our first time in the Hall for Cornwall, and we hope to fill every last seat. Tickets for the Truro performance are already on sale through the Hall for Cornwall box office. (01872 262466) Your support, as always, will be invaluable, so please help us spread the word.

That support will also help us bring in the greater numbers needed for our space-consuming Wagner orchestra. Those numbers will be on display elsewhere: following the success of last year’s roof-raising brass late-nighter, Trelights Brass will return, bigger, bolder and even brassier, offering their own version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, no less. Our other late-nighter offers subtler pleasures, Mark Padmore combining with actress Victoria Newlyn and with me, Iain Burnside, at the piano, in a collage of poems and songs, Talking to Hardy.

Whatever your musical tastes, I hope we have something for you in the 2011 Summer Festival. We all look forward to welcoming you there for a memorable fortnight of music making.