Event Line-Up 2017 | Classics in the Park

Event Line-Up 2017

Blair Jacobs
Your host and compere
Blair has hosted Classics In The Park since it started in 2002. he’s seen it grow, move from it’s original home to Brantingham Park and go from strength to strength.  Always the highlight of his ‘hosting events’ during the Summer, Blair now owns the event and is responsible, with the team, for seeing it’s return this year.
A Broadcaster and Media Consultant, Blair’s a Dorset lad moved to East Yorkshire in 1994 with the BBC and went on to present one of the most successful radio programmes in the region, Soapbox, on BBC Radio Humberside.

For several years he presented Look North news bulletins and continues to present a Sunday morning programme on radio. He’s met and interviewed some of the most influential people in the world including Archbishop Tutu, two previous British Prime Ministers, The Duchess of York and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As well as presenting radio shows, Blair also runs a communications’ training company, hosts and facilitates conferences and seminars, presents corporate videos and voice-overs and acts as a media consultant for several large clients.

Andrew Penny
Musical Director

Andrew Penny was born in Hull and entered the Royal Manchester College of Music in 1971 to study the clarinet with Sidney Fell. As a postgraduate he was the first holder of the Rothschild Scholarship in Conducting at the Royal.

Northern College of Music, studying with Sir Charles Groves and Timothy Reynish and receiving the Ricordi Prize. He also studied with Sir Edward Downes on courses in Holland and at the BBC Conductors Seminar in 1985.

Since 1992 he has made over 50 recordings for the Naxos and Marco.

Polo labels. Much of the repertoire is of British Music and includes symphonies by Sir Malcolm Arnold and Havergal Brian, film music by Vaughan Williams and Walton, theatre music by Sullivan and Holbrooke and light music by Coates and Arnold.

His complete cycle of the nine symphonies by Arnold was produced in time for the composer’s eightieth birthday in October 2001 and his most recent release was 2 CDs of the complete Shakespeare Overtures by Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

Andrew Penny is now the longest serving Musical Director of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra and has been Head of Woodwind at Hymers College since 1977. He is a member of the Hub Advisory Boards for both Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire and was awarded the MBE in the Birthday Honours of 2014.

He is delighted to return to Classics in the Park as Musical Director.

Beth Mackay
Mezzo Soprano

Beth Mackay is a former pupil of Hymers College and graduated from both the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and the Royal Northern College of Music with distinction. In addition to her work with Opera North, Beth played the role of Carmela in De Falla’s ‘La Vida Breve’ and understudied the roles of Flora (La Traviata), Fortuna and Valletto (The Coronation of Poppea),Cherubino in 'The Marriage of Figaro’ and Julie Jordan ('Carousel') in the 2014/15 season.

Beth sang in the chorus of Welsh National Opera’s production of Moses und Aaron, making her debut in the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden last year.

On the concert platform, Beth has appeared in solo recitals and oratorios by composers including Bach, Rossini and Tippett, with choral societies across the UK.

Beth made her BBC Proms debut as a soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, and appears as a guest soloist on a recording Copland with Merton College, Oxford, singing the title track ‘In the Beginning’ to critical acclaim.

Having grown up in Hull, Beth is delighted to be back home to sing in Classics in the Park at her old school.

Victoria Sharp

Victoria is from Formby, Liverpool. She studied singing at the Royal

Northern College of Music and continued her studies with the late Jeffrey Neilson Taylor.

For Opera North she has performed as The Bridesmaid and Barbarina (The Marriage of Figaro), Shepherd Boy (Tosca), The Flower Girl (Der Ferne Klang), Princess Nicoletta (Love for Three Oranges), First Girl (Masquerade), Second Maid (Medea), First Maid (Violanta), First Page (Tannhäuser), First Girl (La Boheme), Barena (Jenufa), Shepherd Girl/Bat (L'Enfant et Les Sortileges), Marianne (Der Rosenkavalier), Miss Jessel (The Turn of the Screw), Newspaper Seller and Russian Mother (Death in Venice), Lady in Waiting (MacBeth) Prostitute (House of the Dead).

In concert Victoria has sung the roles of Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Frasquitta (Carmen), Madama Butterfly, Desdemona (Otello), Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana), Turandot, Aida, Gutrune

(Götterdämmerung), and Fourth Maid (Elektra) for Opera North. She also understudied Aida for English National Opera.

 Recent roles at Opera North include Flora (La Traviata), Berta (The Barber of Seville), Marianne (Der Rosenkavalier) as well studying the roles of Wellgunde (The Ring Cycle) and Val (Pleasure).

Paul Gibson

Paul Gibson began singing with the Rawstorne Singers while still at secondary school and performed in all the major cathedrals in Britain. As a primary school teacher in Chorley, he became a member of Preston Opera, where roles included Escamillo in Carmen, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Don Carlos in Ernani and the title role in Macbeth.

 In 2000, he joined the Chorus of Opera North. His roles with the Company include: Brander in The Damnation of Faust, Ernesto in The Thieving Magpie, Father in Hansel and Gretel and Ned Keene in Peter Grimes.

 In 2009, he sang at the opening of the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds and made his debut at the Bridgewater Hall in Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. Recently, he was the first to perform a new English translation of Sibelius’ Origin of Fire.

 He has often sung as soloist with the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North, including Fauré’s Requiem and Rossini’s Petit Messe Solennelle, and regularly performs solo and oratorio concerts throughout England.

Campbell Russell

Campbell studied singing at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with Neilson Taylor. At the RSAMD he was winner of the Prize for Oratorio Performance, singing Bach's Mass in B minor and Howell's Hymnus Paradisi. He also performed the roles of Nero (The Coronation of Poppea), Chevalier de la Force (The Dialogue of the Carmelites) and Tamino ( Die Zauberflöte).


On leaving the RSAMD he joined Scottish Opera, for whom he performed many roles including Malcolm (MacBeth) at the Vienna Festival and for Scottish Opera Go Round, Count Almaviva (The BarberofSeville) and Ferrando (Così fan tutte).


Campbell subsequently joined Opera North and continues to perform further roles including, Remendado (Carmen), Royal Herald (Don Carlos), the Crow Doctor and Sinister Man (Pinocchio), Third Burgess (Peter Grimes), Joe (La Fanciulla del West), The Circus Manager (The Bartered Bride), Mr Bascombe (Carousel) and Der Haushofmeister (Der Rosenkavalier).


He has appeared many times at the Edinburgh International Festival as well as the Bregenzer Festspiele, La Fête de La Tour and in Lisbon and Oporto's City of Culture celebrations. Other roles include Rodolfo (La Boheme), Cavaradossi (Tosca), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Prince Charmant (Cendrillon), Lensky (Eugene Onegin). Sang regularly with The John Currie Singers and has appeared and recorded with The Caledonian Tenors.

The Classics in the Park Orchestra

The Classics Concert Orchestra has always comprised professional players from the area over the years.

This year is no exception and the orchestra numbers 50 players, including, for the first time musicians appearing in the season at the Spa, Scarborough and others who are products of this area and have gone on to professional positions elsewhere.

Eight members of the Instrumental and Music Staff of Hymers College are playing in this first concert at our new venue.

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