SOME of the region’s most talented young musicians have joined forces with an internationally-acclaimed Baroque ensemble for a new double-billed production.

The Hexham-based Samling Academy Opera and acclaimed Dunedin Consort, led by John Butt, will present John Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Henry Purcell’s Come, ye Sons of Art, at The Witham in Barnard Castle on Friday, July 20, and at Sage Gateshead on Thursday, July 26, and Friday, July 27.

Considered the first English-language opera, Blow’s Venus and Adonis draws on themes of carefree pastoral love and grief and is based on the classical Roman myth, which also inspired Shakespeare’s poem of the same name as well as Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Purcell’s joyful and celebratory Come, ye Sons of Art, written in 1694 in honour of Queen Mary’s birthday, is an ode to the beauty of music and art.

Singers from Samling Academy are cast in both leading roles and as chorus.

Samling Artist countertenor Tim Morgan takes on the role of Cupid, in a staged and costumed production directed by Samling Artist Miranda Wright, with choreography by Royal Opera House movement coach Mandy Demetriou and lighting design by Alex Edwards.

Featuring sumptuous period costumes, this double-bill production will appeal to both first-time opera novices as well as avid classical music fans.

Founded in 2012 in partnership with Newcastle and Durham universities and Sage Gateshead, Samling Academy is developing the next generation of classical singers in the North-East.

Young people growing up here as well as those who have chosen to study in the region benefit from unique training and performance opportunities. The Academy has set new standards in classical singing training, reaching young singers throughout the region who might otherwise never have their potential recognised and nurtured.

Under the musical direction of John Butt, Scotland’s Dunedin Consort has established itself as one of the country’s leading Baroque ensembles, performing at the nation’s major festivals and in Canada, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Israel and France.

Following the success of their critically-acclaimed recording of Bach’s St John Passion, Dunedin made its BBC Proms debut in 2017.

It broadcasts frequently on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Scotland, and has been nominated for and won numerous Gramophone awards.

Samling artistic and executive director Karon Wright said: “‘We are delighted that John Butt and the Dunedin Consort are joining us for our third Samling Academy Opera production.

“‘Weaving together glorious music, an outstanding libretto and Baroque dance, we are looking forward to showcasing our young artists in two works that celebrate life, love and beauty.”

Tickets are from £15 (£10 for students and under 25s).

For The Witham contact 01833 631 107 or email and the Sage Gateshead, contact 0191 443 4661 or email Tickets can also be booked online.