Some of the North East's most talented young classical singers take to the stage next week in a semi-staged performance of song and poetry exploring the world above and below the waves.

Sea Pictures, performed by Samling Academy, promises to delight audiences across the region with stories of sailors and the lovers they’ve left behind, of fishing communities, mermaids and myths and with some traditional seaside fun thrown in.

With music from Elgar’s much-loved cycle Sea Pictures, the programme will also include songs by Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Benjamin Britten and Michael Head and traditional ballads.

The Northern Echo: From left, Ben Ryan, Boris Baros and Alex Li Picture: Mark PinderFrom left, Ben Ryan, Boris Baros and Alex Li Picture: Mark Pinder

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The 20 young singers have been working with Samling Artists Miranda Wright, who has directed previous Samling Academy opera and concert programmes and pianist Jo Ramadan, a professor at the Royal College of Music.

They will accompany the performances at Saltburn Arts AT 7.30pm on Wednesday (July 13) and at and Sage Gateshead at 7.30pm on Friday (July 15).

Samling Academy offers advanced training to young classical singers, aged 14 to 21, who live or study in the North East.

Those selected for the programme receive intensive coaching in vocal technique, acting, stage presence, languages and communication and regular performance opportunities where they can put into practice the skills they have learned under expert tuition.

Among the cast of Sea Pictures is 20-year old Megan Hill from Saltburn, who has been singing since she was eight and first auditioned for Samling Academy when she was just 14.

During her time with the Academy she has performed every year in concerts at Sage Gateshead, including two Opera Gala concerts in Sage One with Royal Northern Sinfonia, and as a guest soloist with local choirs.

The Northern Echo: Samling Academy Sea Pictures Megan Hill and Hannah McKay Picture: Mark Pinder Samling Academy Sea Pictures Megan Hill and Hannah McKay Picture: Mark Pinder

Samling Academy also provided her with support and advice to prepare for the next steps in her training, and in September she will start as an undergraduate at the Royal College of Music, where she has received a full scholarship.

Megan said : “Samling Academy has given me so many opportunities to learn from the very best – last year the renowned soprano Joan Rodgers came to work with us, which was just an incredible experience, and it’s prepared me so well for going to the Royal College of Music next year.

"They also kept going with online programmes during lockdown, which felt very special when the whole world had stopped.

"But you can’t beat singing to a live audience, and it’s great to be back in a room with my friends at Samling Academy, using everyone’s energy to enhance the performance. It’s been a great experience and I can’t wait to sing for my home audience at Saltburn Arts”.

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Karon Wright, Artistic and Executive Director of Samling Institute added: “We are extremely proud of this year’s Academy Singers who have shown bravery and resilience throughout the pandemic and now as they return to live performance after such a long break.

"They have supported each other with great kindness through the uncertainties of this year and I know they’re thrilled to be back on stage and sharing live music again”.

Tickets for Saltburn Arts concert are £15 (under 18 £11) available from Saltburn Arts and Sage Two, Sage Gateshead concert are £16 (under 18 £10) available from Sage Gateshead.

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