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Return to the Baroque era

The annual treat for enthusiasts of music from the Baroque period and beyond returns to Tyneside for its ninth year.

The annual treat for enthusiasts of music from the Baroque period and beyond returns to Tyneside for its ninth year.

The Newcastle Early Music Festival, largely based at the King's Hall of Newcastle University, opens this Saturday at 7.30pm with Eric Cross directing Cappella Novocastriensis, Newcastle Baroque and Trio Barokkalao in works by Carissimi, Couperin, Charpentier and Lalande.

On Monday at 7.30pm pianist David Owen Norris joins the Trio Sonnerie for an exploration of early piano concertos by J C Bach, Hayes, Hook and Mozart as well as 18th Century Hungarian music in the folk tradition.

Adrian Chandler serves as director and violinist with La Serenissima on Tuesday at 1.10pm for performances of the 1705 Op.1 violin sonatas by Vivaldi, while at 7.30pm La Serenissima are again in action for Vivaldi's Music for the Pietà, also featuring soprano Mhairi Lawson, cellist Sarah McMahon and organist Robert Howarth, in works including the Salve regina and Concerto for Violin, Cello & Organ.

The festival switches to All Saints' Church above Newcastle Quayside on Wednesday for a 7.30pm performance of Spanish songs and dances from the High Renaissance with Trio Barokkalao, soprano Laila Finvik Pettersen, guitarist Maria Ferré Perez and Giovanna Pessi on double harp.

Back at the King's Hall, Trio Barokkalao share the stage with the New Vocal Consort on Thursday for a free concert starting at 1.10pm for a programme entitled Speaking in Song, featuring the music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries.

The renowned Baroque soprano Emma Kirkby heads the cast for a 7.30pm performance of Handel's Belshazzar on Sunday, March 13 with the Newcastle Bach Choir and Newcastle Baroque under the direction of Eric Cross, and the festival concludes on Thursday, March 17 at 7.30pm with Love's But the Frailty of the Mind with the soprano Catherine Bott and harspsichordist David Owen Norris.

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