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Ian Anderson announces rock opera date at Sage

Prog rock pioneer Ian Anderson is bringing Jethro Tull: The Rock Opera to Sage Gateshead in the autumn

Ian Anderson
Ian Anderson

Opera North are coming to Newcastle but a very different type of opera is heading our way in the autumn.

Veteran prog rocker Ian Anderson has announced six dates for Jethro Tull: The Rock Opera, one of which is September 13 at Sage Gateshead.

The opera is said to honour the 18th Century English agriculturalist after whom the band was named in 1968.

Tull, the person, was born in Berkshire and helped to bring about an agricultural revolution by developing – in 1701 – a horse-drawn seed drill that sowed seeds in neat rows.

He died in 1741, blissfully unaware that 267 years later his name would be ‘borrowed’ by Ian Anderson’s noisy prog rock band whose hit albums would include Aqualung and Thick as a Brick and whose lead singer (Anderson) would play the flute standing on one leg.

The rock opera will tell the story of Jethro Tull’s life but reimagined as if it were happening in the near future.

It will feature material from the Jethro Tull repertoire including Wind Up, Heavy Horses, Aqualung, Back to the Family, Farm on the Freeway and Songs from the Wood.

Joining Anderson will be David Goodier (bass), John O’Hara (keyboards), Florian Opahle (guitar), Scott Hammond (drums) and some ‘virtual guests’ on a big screen.

Says Anderson: “Instead of spoken introductions to the songs in the show, there will be the use of that operatic device, the ‘recitative’, where the links are made by short sung vocal segments in a usually-simple musical backdrop, making it a little easier and more entertaining for non-English speaking audiences.”

Tickets for the Sage performance go on sale on March 9. Box office: 0191 443 4661 or www.sagegateshead.com.

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