Arts festival lifts the curtain

Rannveig Karadottir will be playing the role of Violetta in Verdi's opera

The organisers of the Rye Arts Festival have given us a sneak of some of the exciting events that are going to feature between September 12 – 28. Heading the bill will be a fully-staged opera on the opening Saturday (September 13), La Traviata – not an amateur production but with professional singers, including Icelandic soprano Rannveig Karadottir in the lead role, and professional musicians in the full orchestra. Conducted by Alisdair Kitchen, the Euphonia company, who delighted Rye two years ago with a fabulous production, will be eagerly anticipated.

The English Concert, one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world, closes the festival on Sunday 28 at St Mary’s Church. Sandwiched between these events will be a series of classical concerts, including a week-long residency by the Piatti Quartet.

Vicky Pryce: tells her story and much more
Vicky Pryce: tells her story and much more

The whole Festival starts with a free concert on Friday September 12! The Hallelujah Trails will serve up country music at the Community Centre with the free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis from the Box Office! Folk and jazz are also in the festival programme and the hugely entertaining Irish band, Dervish, is back in Rye by popular demand on September 26.

The packed literary programme includes a talk on September 24 by The Daily Telegraph gardening writer Sarah Raven who will talk about the gardens created at Sissinghurst by Vita Sackville-West. And Vicky Pryce, who took Chris Huhne’s driving points and was then taken to court and jailed for her misdemeanour, uses her jail experience to suggest reforms on September 23.

On September 15 there will be a one-man-play, The Rain that Washes, about growing up in, leaving and returning to Zimbabwe. The play was a huge success at least year’s Edinburgh Festival. And there will be Argentine Tango and Flamenco shows on September 14 and 17 as well as workshops beforehand for beginners and improvers to get a taste of these Latin dances.

The full listing of events will be announced on July 13 and can be found on the website on July 14 or in the programme brochure, which will be widely available around the town.

Strictly tangoing in Rye
Fans of Strictly Come Dancing will want to hotfoot it to learn with the professionals

Andy Stuart is a member of the festival committee