Acclaimed actor ALEX JENNINGS to join Ryedale Festival for 2017

Acclaimed actor ALEX JENNINGS to join Ryedale Festival for 2017

10 July 2017 12:00 am


Acclaimed actor ALEX JENNINGS to join  Ryedale Festival for 2017

Today, the Ryedale Festival announced that acclaimed actor, Alex Jennings, will appear as part of the 2017 RyedaleFestival’s Truth’s Disguise series where he will read the poetry of Anna Akhmatova and her circle alongside performances of Shostakovich’s String Quartets from the Carducci Quartet over four concerts in stunning venues across the region on 16, 18, 19 and 20 July.

Alex Jennings is widely known to audiences for his performances in blockbusting films such as Lady in the Van starring alongside Dame Maggie Smith and The Queen with Dame Helen Mirren; hit TV series including The Crown on Netflix; ITV’s Victoria and The Halcyon; and extensive work with the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.

Dmitri Shostakovich was the great musical figure of Soviet Russia and the fifteen string quartets he composed over three decades are often seen as a musical diary of his most intimate thoughts. The poet Anna Akhmatova admired him from afar, rarely missed a premiere of his music, dedicated poems to him, and listened to the quartets repeatedly. For his part, Shostakovich cherished Akhmatova's poetry and kept a picture of her in his apartment. For years, they never met - and when they did they sat in silence. 'It was wonderful', said Anna. Akhmatova was rare among poets of her generation in choosing to stay in Russia, where she was ostracised, and remained unpublished, for many years. But by the end of her life she was recognised for what she was: the country's greatest living poet. The younger Shostakovich likewise suffered from the swings of fortune, alternately lauded and condemned, but both he and Akhmatova were uncompromising in their art, which shares and expresses something of the sufferings experienced by the Russian people under Stalin's regime. One hundred years after the October Revolution, the Ryedale Festival brings together these great creative spirits of Soviet Russia, as Alex Jennings, the Carducci Quartet and Elizabeth Wilson explore the string quartets by Shostakovich alongside poetry by Anna Akhmatova and her circle.


Christopher Glynn, Artistic Director of Ryedale Festival, said: ‘We are thrilled to have an actor of Alex’s calibre on board for this year’s Festival and for this very special mini-series with Artists in Residence the Carducci Quartet.’ 

For further information please contact


Libby Binks at / +44 (0) 7841 463 056

Notes to Editors:


Concert details:


Truth’s Disguise I

Sunday 16 July 2017, 7pm, Duncombe Park

Akhmatova – Music

Mandelstam – Silentium  

Tsvetayeva –You block the zenith sun 

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 1

Akhmatova – Prologue

Brodsky – A Jewish Cemetery near Leningrad

Blok – A Voice from the Choir

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 4

Akhmatova – from Requiem

Ahkmatova – To Death

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 3


Truth’s Disguise II

Tuesday 18 July 2017, 11am, St Mary’s Church, Birdsall

Akhmatova – Romance

Tsvetayeva – Hamlet’s Dialogue with his Conscience

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 7

Akhmatova – Reading Hamlet

Pasternak – Hamlet

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 5


Truth’s Disguise III

Wednesday 18 July 2017, 11am, St Olave’s Church, York

Brodsky – Elegy

Pushkin – Foreboding

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 10

Akhmatova – In vain you fling at my feet

Akhmatova – Inscription on a book

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 8


Truth’s Disguise IV

Thursday 20 July 2017, 7.30pm, All Saints’ Church, Helmsley

Akhmatova – Creation

Nikolai Gumilev – My thoughts

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 11

Annensky – Bow and Strings

Akhmatova – Christmas time: Last Day in Rome

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 14

Pasternak –Magdalene 1

Akhmatova – My silence is in music and in song

Akhmatova – Leave me alone with music

Shostakovich – Quartet no. 15


Tickets from box office on 01751 475777, or online at


Ryedale Festival 14 – 30 July 2017

Every year, the Ryedale Festival welcomes outstanding performers from all over the world, both established and emerging, to perform a wide-ranging and distinctive programme in the many spectacular venues of Ryedale, North Yorkshire – an area marked by its history and its natural beauty. 

The Festival enjoys a large, loyal and enthusiastic audience, the warm support of the local community and a growing reputation as one of the most exciting and enterprising in the country. Events range far and wide across the area and performances are given at the great houses of Castle Howard, Hovingham Hall, Duncombe Park and Sledmere, as well as in Ampleforth Abbey, York Minster, Helmsley Arts Centre, Pickering Kirk Theatre and many other local venues. There is also a popular series of Coffee Concerts given in the many beautiful, often remote, country churches of North Yorkshire and a series of literary events, talks, exhibitions, theatre, jazz and family events.

The market towns and villages of the region – principally Malton, Helmsley and Pickering – are of a muted loveliness, and seem not much changed for decades. Beautiful medieval churches and major stately homes abound. The surrounding countryside encompasses the North York Moors and magisterial Howardian Hills, as well as vast rolling landscapes and wooded valleys through which the River Rye flows.

The Festival began in 1981 when four musician friends, Geoffrey and June Emerson, and Peter and Alex White, had the idea of launching a small series of local concerts. Before long, events ranged far and wide in the area to make a true Ryedale Festival. Since 2014, Ryedale Festival has been solely funded by the generous support of its members, friends, patrons and sponsors. Christopher Glynn joined the Festival as Artistic Director in 2010 and it has gone from strength to strength, with rapidly growing ticket sales, an international circle of friends and supporters, and a growing reputation for the excellence of its programming, while broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 have also brought its work to a national audience.

Ryedale Festival is proud to boast some of the biggest names in British classical music as being amongst its line-up of Vice-Presidents including Richard Farnes, Michael Berkeley and Sir Thomas Allen.

Highlights of recent Festivals include visits by many internationally renowned soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras. There is a long tradition of opera, invariably highly acclaimed by both critics and audience, together with strong support and enthusiasm for talented young performers.


Sharp Arts Media


Libby Binks +44(0)7841 463 056