Hit Irish musical Once is on its way to the Grand Opera House in February

Daniel Healy, left, as Guy, Emma Lucia, as Girl, and Samuel Martin, as the Bank Manager, in Once The Musical, on tour at the Grand Opera House, York, next month. Pictures: Mark Senior

ONCE seen, never forgotten, but you won’t have seen Once like this before, except in…Ipswich or Hornchurch.

First a cult, micro-budget Irish film written and directed by John Carney in 2007, then a Broadway, West End and Dublin show, Once The Musical embarks on its first British tour in January, playing the Grand Opera House, in York, from February 3 to 8.

Telling the uplifting yet yearning story of the hopes and dreams of two lost souls, a Dublin street busker and a Czech musician, who unexpectedly fall in love, Once is being directed by Peter Rowe with musical supervision by his regular cohort Ben Goddard.

The cast will be led by Scotsman Daniel Healy as Guy and Emma Lucia, from Durham, as Girl, reprising their roles from 2018’s premiere at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, and Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch.

The company invited press and media to meet them three weeks into rehearsal at Toynbee Hall in London’s East End: a question-and-answer session introduced with rousing performances of Irish ceilidh songs and the show’s opening scene, leading to Healy and Lucia’s performance of the Oscar-winning signature song Falling Slowly, with all the actor-musicians playing their part around them, “leaning into the story” in the pub setting.

“This production is very different to the West End,” says Ben. “We very much started, as we would do with any story, any musical, by taking it off the page and then basically trying to get as many people as possible into the story we present on stage.”

Peter says: “What’s particular about this production is that everyone on stage is telling the story and that gives it a real charge. We have skilled actor-musicians trying to re-create the acoustic sound of Irish pub songs, and rather than trying to make it a bigger razzmatazz production, we want to draw people in.”

Emma Lucia as Girl in Once The Musical

This reflects the song-writing of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová that frames Irish playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh’s story of the Guy and the Girl’s relationship across five short Dublin days.

“Glen is a singer-songwriter who writes thoughtful songs from the heart, and so our production is an extension of that,” says Ben. “That’s the difference from other musicals: the music really does the job for you.”

Peter says: “You can feel that the band are impressed by this man, his voice and his music, and they become part of the flowering of his songs.”

He and Ben have worked regularly in the actor-musician world of theatrical performance. “That’s pretty much what we done with all the work we’ve done together, but putting the band together for this show has been very challenging, bringing together the right collection of people,” says Ben.

“Not just how they each play, but how they play together and work together, so that we have a combination of people to make the story work.”

Peter concurs: “Seeing an ensemble of 16 with all that skill, swapping instruments, will be a pleasure for the audience.” Ben rejoins: “I think we’ve found a combination where the levels of performance are pretty much at a peak, which is hard to find, with everyone showing their powers of musicianship and their acting chops.”

Peter’s research took him to Dublin for the “terrible task” – said with his tongue in his cheek – of visiting as many pubs as possible, combining the pleasures of an Irish pint with taking photographs of the pub interiors and the musicians playing there, and now bringing that atmosphere to the stage.

“It’s an unrequited love story, the most painful of all love stories, and that’s why Once really gets to people,” says director Peter Rowe of Guy’s plight in the Irish musical

At its heart, Once is a love story. “But it’s also an unrequited love story, the most painful of all love stories, and that’s why Once really gets to people,” says Peter.

“It’s the lives that you don’t live that you think about: if only you had turned left rather than right, and everyone recognises that story in the songs. And these are not musical theatre songs where people get to the point where they can’t say anything more without bursting into song.

“Here it’s a different convention. The songs in Once stand alone; they’re mostly solo songs or duets that are being sung in the street or Billy’s music store, so they have a naturalistic place in the story.”

Ben adds: “The story in Once came from an already written collection of songs, and with those songs being strong, a very strong story followed. At the start, the Guy seems quite repressed when he talks to the Girl, but then all the passion he felt in his failed relationship comes pouring out in his songs.”

Working in tandem with their regular choreographer, Fran Jaynes, Peter and Ben have made a point of changing the way musicians were used in past productions of Once The Musical. “When we saw it in London, they were on stage, to the left and to the right, watching what was going on, but, for me, they never really felt part of it,” says Ben. “But we’ve been involved in actor-musician work for a long time, and we’ve found it really potent to take their involvement further.”

Peter adds: “We could see the show’s potential as an actor-musician piece, and we just felt we could do more with it, making the most of the ensemble.”

In what way? “Using everybody on stage at all times, it’s like a European troupe of actors, where they all tell the story,” says Ben.

“But we also spent a long time trying to get the right chemistry in the whole cast, though the two leads, Daniel and Emma, had to come first.”

Once The Musical runs at Grand Opera House, York, from February 3 to 8 2020. Box office: 0844 871 3024, at atgtickets.com/York or in person from the Cumberland Street theatre.

Supergrass to play Doncaster Racecourse concert in May? I should coco.

Supergrass: on the run to play Doncaster Racecourse this summer

SUPERGRASS are heading to the super turf of Doncaster Racecourse for a Live After Racing concert on May 16.

Racegoers can enjoy the evening’s race card from 5.30pm, followed by a full set by the revived Oxford band, under starter’s orders at 9pm at the 17,000-capacity Town Moor track.

Tickets go on general sale tomorrow (January 17) at 10am at ticketmaster.co.uk, preceded by Artist + O2 customer pre-sales today.

Music Live’s poster for Supergrass Live After Racing

On the surprise comeback trail in 2020, Supergrass already had confirmed an outdoor show in Yorkshire, having signed up for the Scarborough Open Air Theatre summer season for June 20.

To mark the 25th anniversary of their chart-topping 1995 debut album, I Should Coco, the band are releasing a box set, Supergrass – The Strange Ones, 1994-2008, on BMG on January 24.

After their sixth studio album, Diamond Hoo Ha, in 2008, Gaz Coombes, Mick Quinn, Danny Goffey and Rob Coombes parted ways in 2010, concluding with a short farewell tour. A decade later, everything feels Alright to be Pumping On Your Stereo once more.

Racing certainty: Shed Seven will be having a day at the races at Doncaster Racecourse in August

Supergrass are the second revitalised Nineties’ act to be confirmed for a Live After Racing gig at Donny: York’s Shed Seven, who made a 1998 album called Let It Ride, will follow the runners and riders at 5.45pm on August 15.

Tickets for Supergrass’s Scarborough show are on sale on 01723 818111 and 01723 383636; at scarboroughopenairtheatre.com or in person from the Scarborough OAT box office, in Burniston Road, or the Discover Yorkshire Tourism Bureau, Scarborough Town Hall, St Nicholas Street.  

Brendan Cole calls time on big band song-and-dance shows but showman will return

Brendan Cole in Show Man, dancing its way to the Grand Opera House, York, next month

HEADING for York on February 25, ballroom dancer Brendan Cole’s Show Man will be his last big band production after ten years of touring five shows.

Just to be clear, the former Strictly Come Dancing star is not retiring but song-and-dance concert tours on such a theatrical scale will be consigned to the past after Live & Unjudged in 2010, 2011 and twice in 2012; Licence To Thrill in 2013 and 2014; A Night To Remember in 2015 and 2016; All Night Long in 2017 and 2018 and now Show Man in 2019 and 2020.

“This will be my last big band tour after touring for so many years,” says the 43-year-old New Zealander, who will be bringing Show Man to the Grand Opera House next month.

“I’ve loved every second of being on the stage with my friends, who have now become family. It’s time for something different and I’m honoured to be taking Show Man out for one last run.

Taking Show Man out for one last run: Brendan Cole launches the second leg of his 2019/2020 tour

“I’m so proud of this production and I’m going out on a high. If you love live music from one of the best touring bands and exciting and emotive dance, this is the show for you.”

Back on the road from February 19, Show Man draws its inspiration from the magic of theatre and the movies, combining Cole and his hand-picked championship dancers and eight-piece big band and singers with laughter and chat throughout.

Choreography will be high energy, up close and personal, complemented by the lighting and special effects. Expect a cheeky Charleston to Pencil Full Of Lead, a sexy Salsa to Despacito, music fromBeggin’ to Bublé, plus numbers from The Greatest Showman and La La Land.

‘I’m really excited to be bringing back Show Man, having toured this production early in 2019. This is my most exciting tour to date; it’s so dynamic and theatrical, much more so than any previous tour,” says Brendan, who you may remember lifted the very first Strictly Come Dancing glitterball trophy when partnering news presenter Natasha Kaplinsky in 2004.

” I’m particularly proud of Show Man because of its theatricality,” says Brendan Cole

“We have five male dancers, three female dancers, choirs, a violinist and brand new staging, which allows the choreography to be exciting and different; bigger and better lifts, some very strong theatrical numbers, as well as a new-look set. It really is something special. My aim is to wow the audience and give them everything they’d expect and much, much more.”

Why stop doing such big-scale shows now? “I’m giving myself options for the future,” says Brendan, who, by the way, spent the Christmas season in pantoland, playing the Spirit of the Ring in Aladdin at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking. “My days of playing Aladdin are over!” he quips. “I’m not hired for my looks!”

Back to Show Man being his last tour on the grand scale. “The thing is, with these big band tours, I’ve been doing it for ten years now; it takes a year to put each one together and I don’t have the time to do that anymore.

“Since I left Strictly at the end of 2017, I’m delighted to say I’ve been crazily busy. I’m involved in The X Factor, I’m doing some other TV shows. There’s a show that’s just been filmed for Channel 4, though I can’t go into detail yet!”

“There’s that moment I really enjoy, when a dance has just finished, and there’s a hush, as if the audience are almost in a state of trance…,” says Brendan Cole

For now, the focus is on enjoying the second leg of Show Man shows. “It was Katie Bland who came up with the Show Man title, because it’s a show with all the different aspects of dance, taking it on a more theatrical slant and movie influenced too, such as The Greatest Showman and Dirty Dancing.

“Katie said, ‘you are ‘the showman’, and after seeing The Great Showman, I knew I had to include it in the show.”

Not only will there be a big band, but also a choir at the Grand Opera House. “We use local singers, anyone from 12 years old to young adults, and they range in number from 12 to 27 each night,” says Brendan.

Looking back over ten years of shows, “My favourite was my first, Live & Unjudged, when it was very raw,” he recalls. “But I’m particularly proud of Show Man because of its theatricality.”

My aim is to wow the audience and give them everything they’d expect and much, much more,” says Brendan Cole

What comes next for Brendan, the showman dancer? “Something much more intimate,” he says, “One of the things I’ve tried to do is make Show Man more intimate, but that’s a hard thing to do in a big band show.

“But I have no plans for the next move yet, because I’d like some time out as it’s gruelling, taking hours and hours to put the content together and then the company together for a show like Show Man. I want to take some time out with my family.”

Such is his love of dance shows and dancing itself, Brendan will be back. “It’s the magic of it. Creating a story between two people in a dance. That little bit of magic for two and a half, three, minutes. It’s storytelling without words, and as people watch, they create their own stories,” he says.

“It’s the waltzes that I really love. There’s a real beauty to them. Then there’s that moment I really enjoy, when a dance has just finished, and there’s a hush, as if the audience are almost in a state of trance…”

…And, there, in a nutshell, is why Show Man will be a chapter, rather than the closing chapter, in Brendan Cole’s dance story. He has a vision beyond 2020.

Brendan Cole, Show Man, Grand Opera House, York, February 25, 7.30pm. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/York

Copyright of The Press, York

Mary Coughlan confirmed for Pocklington Arts Centre gig in April

Mary Coughlan: returning to Pocklington Arts Centre in the spring

IRISH jazz and blues chanteuse Mary Coughlan will play Pocklington Arts Centre on April 21 on her spring tour.

More details will follow shortly, but tickets for the 8pm show will go on sale at 10am on Friday (January 17) at £18 on 01759 301547 or at pocklinvgtonartscentre.co.uk.

Often described as “Ireland’s Billie Holiday”, Coughlan, 63, has overcome childhood trauma, alcoholism and drug addiction to become a tornado of a musical force.

Her debut album, Tired And Emotional, rocketed her to overnight fame in 1985, and fifteen albums later, her ability to connect deeply with both the song and her audience remains undiminished, a testament to her inner strength and the power of transformation and redemption.

Look who’s coming to Selby Town Hall’s biggest ever spring season…

Be prepared for Lucy Porter: she is playing Selby Town Hall on June 6

SELBY Town Hall’s spring season will be its biggest ever with 27 live shows between February and the start of June, plus a trio of Edinburgh Fringe previews in July.

“There’s the usual mix of folk, Americana, stand-up, pop, rock, theatre and more with chart-toppers, cult indie royalty, a Grammy winner, the radio voice who guided my teenage pop dreams, a primetime impersonator tinkling the ivories and even a 13-piece orchestra,” says Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones.

“We had a good end to 2019 with a surprise listing in the Guardian as one of the UK’s best tiny venues and that seems to have spilled over into 2020 with strong early sales. It’s full steam ahead.”

The programme’s headline stars include punk princess, actor, television presenter and Top Ten hit maker Toyah with her stripped-back Acoustic, Up Close & Personal show on February 21; Mark Radcliffe: Loser?, a solo show of words and songs from the BBC6 Music and Radio 2 presenter, on April 2, and impersonator Alistair McGowan, in his new-found guise as a classical pianist, in The Piano Show on May 22.

Guitarist Gordon Giltrap’s re-scheduled date is confirmed for February 29; cult Eighties’ indie icon, John Peel favourite, Scouse maverick and The Mighty Wah! frontman Pete Wylie presents a duo show of hits and stories on March 14, and Dire Straits founding member David Knopfler, now plying his trade as a singer-songwriter, performs with Harry Bogdanovs on May 27.

Me and my mum: Arabella Weir in her debut stand-up show

On the comedy front, The Fast Show star turned bestselling author Arabella Weir plays the smallest date on her first ever stand-up tour, the confessional Does My Mum Loom Big In This?, on February 28; Paul Sinha, one-time Grand Opera House, York, pantomime villain, comic and quiz sensation from The Chase, performs Hazy Little Thing Called Love on March 21; and Jo Caulfield discusses unreasonable neighbours, call centres, snobby ghosts, prosecco drinkers, being married forever and rude children in Voodoo Doll on May 1.

BBC New Comedy Award winner, To Hull And Back sitcom writer and Hull native Lucy Beaumont spins surreal anecdotes about bubble wrap, boxing, boobs and believing in UFOs or not in Space Mam, her return to live stand-up after a four-year hiatus, on April 17.

Always space for Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont

“The season also includes one of the biggest successes from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, comedy duo Max & Ivan, on February 7,” says Chris. “Their show Commitment was named the fourth best comedy performance of 2019 by the Guardian and has just been listed as one of the comedy highlights of 2020 by The Times.

“There’ll be more laughs from BBC Radio 4 favourite Lucy Porter in Be Prepared, her show on how ‘life turned out to be slightly more complicated than Brown Owl let on’, on June 6; classically moulded British eccentric Tim FitzHIgham in Pittancer Of Selby on April 8, and Nineties’ comedy pin-up turned philosophical raconteur Rob Newman in Rob Newman’s Philosophy Show: Work In Progress on May 16.

Rob Newman: philosophical work in progress

“Rob will be trying out material for the next series of his award-winning BBC Radio 4 stand-up philosophy programme Total Eclipse Of Descartes.”

Jones always has a strong hand of American folk and roots music acts each season. “This spring is no different with performances from Grammy-winning Californian bluegrass icon Laurie Lewis and her band The Right Hands on May 21; singer-songwriters Bronwynne Brent and Rachel Baiman on March 6 and May 28 respectively and the sunshine melodies and harmonies of Illinois indie-Americana quintet The Way Down Wanderers on April 10,” he says.

Tim FitzHigham and Duncan Walsh Atkins in their Flanders & Swann show

Selby Town Council commemorates the 75th anniversary of VE Day with a concert in Selby Abbey by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band on May 9, preceded by Tim FitzHigham and Duncan Walsh Atkins’s Flanders & Swann show, At The Drop Of A Hippopotamus, on May 8 at Selby Town Hall.

The venue plays host to its first ever orchestral performance when a 13-piece ensemble from the Northern Chamber Orchestra plays on April 7, with cellist, baritone and actor Matthew Sharp as the host.

Yorkston Thorne Khan, pictured right to left, playing Selby Town Hall in March

“As well as being our biggest ever programme of events, this spring season is also one of our most eclectic,” says Chris. “I’m particularly excited to welcome one of the most inventive and cool acts on the folk scene right now, Yorkston Thorne Khan, on March 20, when they promote their new album Navarasa: Nine Emotions.

“They mix an incredible array of sounds, from Scottish traditional to Indian classical, and are signed to the same label as Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand!

“We’re also delighted to open up the season on February 1 with a rare show for a great folk-rock supergroup, The Sandy Denny Project, brought together by Fotheringay MkII’s PJ Wright and The Poozies’ Sally Barker to celebrate one of Britain’s greatest ever singers.”

Nashville singer-songwriter Rachel Baiman

Further dates for the diary are Celtic band The Tannahill Weavers, with their ballads and lullabies on St Valentine’s Day, February 14, guitar duo Ezio on March 5; and Martin Turner: Ex Wishbone Ash, performing his former band’s 1971 album Pilgrimage in its entirety on March 28.

Reform Theatre present Midsommer, playwright David Greig and singer-songwriter Gordon McIntyre’s collaborative piece about two mid-30s, messed-up strangers – failing car salesman/poet Bob and divorce lawyer Helena – embarking on a lost weekend of debauchery, bridge-burning, car chases, wedding bust-ups, midnight trysts and hungover self-loathing, on April 25.

Key signing for Selby Town Hall: impressionist turned piano man Alistair McGowan

Edinburgh Fringe comedy previews with two comics each night will be held on July 11, 18 and 25, with tickets going on sale in the spring.

This season’s National Theatre Live screenings will be Cyrano de Bergerac, starring James McAvoy, on February 20, and Lucy Kirkwood’s bold new thriller The Welkin, starring Maxine Peake and Ria Zmitrowicz, on June 4.

Pete Wylie: singing Story Of The Blues and telling stories at Selby Town Hall on March 14

“From comedy to rock, bluegrass to theatre, orchestral to music hall and much, much more, there’s a huge array to choose from at Selby Town Hall this spring season,” concludes Chris.

Tickets are on sale on 01757 708449, at selbytownhall.co.uk or in person from the town hall.

Shed Seven to lead all-Yorkshire line-up at Piece Hall, Halifax, but who will join them? UPDATED

First Doncaster Racecourse, now The Piece Hall in Halifax as Shed Seven head outdoors for the summer

YORK’S Shed Seven will top an all-Yorkshire bill at The Piece Hall, Halifax, on June 26.

Joining the Sheds will be Leeds bands The Pigeon Detectives and The Wedding Present and Leeds United-supporting York group Skylights, plus the Brighton Beach DJs.

Tickets for this Futuresounds Events show will go on sale on Friday at 9am at lunatickets.co.uk, seetickets.com and gigantic.com.

This is the second outdoor show announcement by the Sheds in quick succession, after confirming they will be chasing winners as well as Chasing Rainbows at Doncaster Racecourse on August 15, when they play Live After Racing, under starter’s orders at 5.45pm.

“We’re doing this Piece Hall show partly because our 2018 gig at Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl went so well,” says Shed Seven lead singer Rick Witter, whose revived Britpoppers drew 8,000 that June day and now will perform in the 5,500-capacity square of the renovated 18th-century Halifax cloth hall that now houses history exhibits and independent shops, bars and restaurants.

The Sheds have just mounted their biggest ever Shedcember winter tour, chalking up their record run of 23 shows between November 21 and December 21, with Leeds First Direct Arena on December 7 at the epicentre.

“After we did the Shedcember gigs, we just fancied doing something similar to Castlefield Bowl this summer, but this time a Yorkshire gig,” says the Stockport-born Witter.

Stockport, Mr Witter?! “I know, but I consider myself a Yorkie now,” says Rick, who attended Huntington School in York.

David Gedge of The Wedding Present, part of the June 26 bill at The Piece Hall, Halifax

“I remember Embrace playing The Piece Hall [Elbow have done likewise], and it’s taken a few months to confirm our gig since we came up with the idea of playing there. We wanted to do an outdoor show, and to do it in such a salubrious setting will be a great buzz.”

As the Sheds look forward to their Halifax and Doncaster concerts, complemented by seven summer festival gigs, with two more to be added, Rick says: “It’s a weird one for us: as the Shedcember tour showed, it seems we’re more popular than ever now. It’s a strange phenomenon but long may it continue.

“Having a new album out [Instant Pleasures, released in November 2017], has definitely helped, because the shows aren’t just nostalgia now; there are new songs too.”

Given that fresh impetus, backed up by October 2019’s gold vinyl re-issue of the Sheds’ greatest hits compilation, Going For Gold, Rick says: “Now we need to do that again: write some more new songs, and as busy as everyone is doing their own thing, there might be room to meet up once a week.”

Definitely new this year will be Shed Seven’s first racecourse concert at Donny. “I went as a guest to see Kaiser Chiefs play at York Racecourse [July 22 2016], and it was a great day out. People love it because it’s a full day out with racing and music. Feel the love that day as everyone makes a big day of it.”

Tickets for Shed Seven’s Music Live performance at Donny are on sale at ticketmaster.co.uk, with more information available at doncaster-racecourse.co.uk. Gates will open at 11.15am for the 1.10pm racecard,

Jess Gardham has the winter blues for busking in the bar in Pocklington

Jess Gardham: on the road from York to Pocklington Arts Centre for a Busking-in-the-Bar night

YORK blues and soul singer, songwriter, musical actress and MasterChef semi-finalist Jess Gardham performs at Busking-in-the-Bar, Pocklington Arts Centre’s free music night, on Friday night (January 17).

Jess, of South Bank, York, has toured Britain, Europe, the United States and Canada, supported KT Tunstall, Paul CarrackandMartin Simpson and played at festivals across Britain, not least PAC’s Platform Festival at The Old Station, Pocklington last summer.

In York, she has starred in three York Stage Musicals’ productions, playing “Motormouth” Maybelle in Hairspray in April 2015 and spiritualist Oda Mae Brown in Ghost The Musical and appearing in Rock Of Ages in April 2017.

“We’re delighted that Jess Gardham will play our first Busking-in-the-Bar event of 2020,” says Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer

“Busking-in-the-Bar is an opportunity for everyone to experience some fantastic free live music, from emerging local artists, all within the comfort of our intimate and luxurious bar,” says PAC director Janet Farmer.

“We were fortunate enough to have Jess Gardham open Platform Festival 2019 and she was sensational, so we’re delighted that Jess will play our first Busking-in-the-Bar event of 2020. 

“There’s fantastic live music, a wide range of drinks to choose from and it’s free entry: what a perfect start to the weekend.”

On Friday, the bar opens at 7pm, the music starts at 8pm. For more details, call the box office on 01759 301547 or visit pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

REVIEW. Martin Dreyer’s verdict on Pavel Kolesnikov, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, York

Pavel Kolesnikov at the piano

Pavel Kolesnikov, Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York, January 10

IT pays to invite big names. The Lyons was justifiably packed for this piano recital promoted by the British Music Society, which was built around two Beethoven sonatas. For anyone just returned from outer space, 2020 is set to be a big year for the great man, as we celebrate his 250th birthday.

Kolesnikov began, however, with a Chopin group, in which he probed the composer’s yearning for the Polish homeland he left at the age of 20, never to return. Rather than plunge straight into the tempestuous Fantasie-Impromptu, he opened with a minor-key nocturne not on the programme. It was magnetic. From then on his audience hung on his every note (some ill-timed, uncovered coughs apart).

Another nostalgic nocturne led into a passionate Third Scherzo in which drama took precedence over clarity. Nobody minded. By then we were in thrall to the seemingly effortless charisma of a man who never plays an unmusical note. Besides, there were always these inner voices that he kept bringing out of the texture.

At this point he allowed the first applause – we were desperate for the release. He then used Chopin’s so-called “Raindrop” prelude as his introduction to Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata, with barely a pause between the two (not such a bad idea when you consider that they are effectively in the same key, except that the former is major, the latter minor).

” It was thrilling for being so close to the edge,” says Martin Dreyer of Pavel Kolesnikov’s piano playing.

The opening movement was a little distorted by rubato. What followed was unexpected. I have never heard the Scherzo played so slowly and deliberately. By contrast, the finale could hardly have been speedier. It was thrilling for being so close to the edge.

The theme of night continued after the interval in pieces by Schumann, Debussy and Bartok. Kolesnikov brought an eerie edge to Schumann’s halting first Nachstück, elongating the many rests dotting its texture. Debussy’s fireworks (Feux d’artifice) were predictably more colourful, superbly varied, while Bartok’s trademark Night Music from his Outdoors suite chillingly evoked things that go bump in the night.

There was a dignified restraint to the opening movement of Beethoven’s Sonata Op 53, dedicated in 1804 to his erstwhile patron Count Waldstein, which lent its chorale a certain hauteur. The slow movement was less convincing. But the final rondo grew in excitement towards its closing prestissimo, with a riveting wealth of detail throughout.

At a mere 30 years old, Kolesnikov could be adorning our concert platforms for another half-century. Let us hope he can be lured back to York very soon.

Review by Martin Dreyer

Once in a lifetime opportunity! Grand Opera House offers £5 student tickets for musical

Alex Hill, left, Beth Scott, Jami Richards and Laura Castle with £5 student tickets for Once The Musical at the Grand Opera House. Picture: David Harrison

THE Grand Opera House, York, is teaming up with City of York Council to offer anyone aged 26 and under £5 tickets for the Broadway and West End show Once The Musical.

Running from February 3 to 8, the show is based on the 2007 Irish indie hit film, telling the uplifting yet yearning story of two lost souls – a Dublin street busker and a Czech musician – who unexpectedly fall in love.

Charting their relationship across five short days, big changes happen to both of them in little ways in this romantic musical drama. Celebrated for its original score, including the Academy Award-winning song Falling Slowly, Once is a spell-binding story of hopes and dreams.

Directed  by Peter Rowe, with musical direction by regular accomplice Ben Goddard, Once The Musical has embarked on its first major British tour after Broadway and West End productions, leading to a Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album, eight Tony Awards and an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music.

To book £5 tickets, go to atgtickets.com/sho…/once/grand-opera-house-york/ Code: ONCE5. Proof of age must be shown when collecting tickets.

The vinyl countdown as Riley-Smith Hall plays hosts to Northern Soul dance night

The poster for next weekend’s Tadcaster soul night

SOUL At The Riley-Smith Hall, Tadcaster, returns by popular demand on January 18 with the promise of floor-filling Northern Soul and Motown in the main room.

“We’ve started to hold these nights every four months and they’re proving quite popular,” says Ian Smith, from Harrogate and Ilkley Soul Clubs, who will be among those spinning the discs next weekend.

“All the music is played on the original vinyl releases and the resident DJs are well known on the county’s soul scene.”

Joining Smith will be Diane Layton, of Moortown and Haworth Soul Clubs, Andy Carling, of Wetherby Engine Shed and Moortown Soul Club, and Keith Hudson, Smith’s fellow DJ from Harrogate and Ilkley Soul Clubs.

“All four DJs have extensive record collections and will be playing tunes specifically to get dancers on to the floor,” says Smith. “The Riley-Smith Hall has an excellent sprung wooden floor and is perceived to be one of the north’s top soul venues for dancers.”

Next weekend’s special guest will be radio presenter John Kane, who hosts the Saturday evening Northern Soul show on BBC Radio Leeds and Radio York. “John is very popular and is sure to attract a number of his local listeners,” says Smith.

The Riley-Smith Hall has a choice of two dance rooms, the second room upstairs catering for fans of soul tunes post 1980 with sets by Mally Meah, Diane Layton and guests.

Admission is £7 on the door from 7.30pm and the dancing rolls on until 12.30am.