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Final festival announced

It has been announced that this year’s Winchester Festival will be the last.

The festival started in 1998, and organisers say that since then there has been an increase in other concerts and talks in the city, with events happening every week.

The line-up for the final festival, which runs from 5th-13th July, has now been announed.

The opening concert (5th July, 7.30pm) sees the debut of Winchester Cathedral Chamber Choir presenting a concert of Iberian-themed choral music. The programme includes Spanish composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Romancero Gitano.

On Saturday 6th at 5.30pm Charles Spencer, bestselling author and historian, recounts the story of Charles I and II. On the same day Hampshire County Youth String Orchestra perform Vaughan Williams and Bach in Winchester Great Hall. At 7.30pm in the Cathedral a programme from the Royal Choral Society offers a rare outing for the full-scale version of Parry’s coronation anthem, paired with Vaughan Williams’ choral symphony, while alongside sits Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Keats in Winchester takes place on 6th and 7th July.

On Sunday 7th in the Guildhall Max Hastings will be recounting his experiences of reporting the Vietnam War, and music comes from Wessex Sinfonietta, and Christopher McKay on the French horn, at 7.30pm in the United Church.

The Lunchtime Concerts are on each of the weekdays, starting on Monday 8th at 1pm.

Nina Campbell, interior designer, will be at the Guildhall at 3.30pm on Monday 8th, and journalist and author Frank Gardner will be there at 6pm telling of his own story of survival.

6pm on Tuesday 9th sees veteran climber and explorer Chris Bonington discuss his many adventures. And at 8pm at St Cross, the Castalian Quartet give a programme focused on the early decades of the string quartet genre.

On Wednesday 10th at the Guildhall, Andrew Marr takes a look at the history of Britain from the end of the Second World War to the turn of this century.

On the 11th at 6pm in the Guildhall, Ed Balls, former Labour MP, reflects on his career, while Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars perform sacred vocal music of the Renaissance in the Cathedral that evening.

Simon Schama will be at the Guildhall on Friday 12th and Michael Palin appears as the last speaker of the festival (Saturday 13th) when he will tell the story of HMS Erebus, a sailing vessel wrecked in September 2014.

To order tickets, see winchesterfestival.co.uk.

The Castalian Quartet. Photo by Kaupo Kikkas

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