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Preview: Graeme Danby & Friends at the Customs House, South Shields

GRAEME Danby, proud possessor of some of the most powerful and cultured lungs in the North East, is to be the star of his own show at the weekend.

Opera singer Graeme Danby
Opera singer Graeme Danby

GRAEME Danby, proud possessor of some of the most powerful and cultured lungs in the North East, is to be the star of his own show at the weekend.

With such a wealth of material to choose from, An Evening with Graeme Danby & Friends promises to be an enjoyable and memorable affair.

Since training at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Graeme has performed on many concert platforms and at opera houses around the world.

His bass voice and acting talent have served him well at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and at the London Coliseum home of English National Opera where he has performed many roles.

You might even remember him singing at the Theatre Royal with Scottish Opera.

But Graeme has also sung all over the region, both outdoors and indoors. He has starred at the North East Last Night of the Proms at Newcastle City Hall and at concerts at National Trust properties such as Gibside and Wallington Hall.

At the weekend he was in fine voice, giving vent to a new version of The Blaydon Races at Newcastle’s Grey’s Monument as part of the 150th anniversary of the annual event it celebrates.

As an avid Newcastle United fan, Graeme is also frequently called on to entertain and stir the passions of the crowd before important matches at St James’ Park. But while this year marks the 150th anniversary of The Blaydon Races, it also marks the 50th anniversary of Graeme Danby.

The Consett-born singer celebrated this significant birthday at the end of May.

At Sunday’s concert at the Customs House, South Shields, Graeme will perform a selection of works from various musical genres.

He will be accompanied by his wife, the soprano Valerie Reid, and he will also be interviewed on stage about his life in music and education.

Graeme is a visiting professor of music and performance at the University of Sunderland and vocal students will also entertain on the night along with university graduate Austin Gunn, a tenor who has just gained his first contract with English National Opera.

The concert was originally scheduled for last month, coinciding with SunFest, the university’s performing arts festival at the Customs House, but the Salzburg Opera, to which he is contracted, changed its rehearsal schedule and Graeme had to go to Austria, meaning a postponement.

Rescheduled to Sunday at 7pm, it stands as a special climax to the festival with what promises to be a winning formula of music and humour.

Tickets (£10, £5 for students) can be bought from the Customs House box office on 0191 454 1234.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer