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Oz and Armonico Drink to Music...

Tales of drunkenness, gluttony and misfortune abound in an evening’s entertainment at Bury St Edmunds’ Athenaeum on Friday 20 May at 7.30pm, with the wine critic and former choral singer, Oz Clarke, and members of leading baroque ensemble Armonico Consort. Presented in a relaxed, cabaret style, Oz and Armonico Drink to Music investigates the spurious links between wine from around the world and the music of the Baroque from Bach, Purcell and Vivaldi to the dance music of South America. Oz and Armonico will take the audience through a four-course musical menu, packed with stories, anecdotes and musical interludes, with opportunities for a little wine tasting along the way.

The programme has been devised by Armonico Consort’s Artistic Director, Christopher Monks, and Oz Clarke. Christopher Monks says, “Each piece of music has an alcoholic link, from the hilarious to the tragic. For instance, Purcell died of hypothermia - his wife locked him out when he came home drunk; Handel died of lead poisoning because lead was used to sweeten wine at that time. There are also links between the music and wines of different regions and we’ll stop to taste a few en route.”

Wine writer and broadcaster Oz Clarke was a professional singer for many years, starting at Canterbury, continuing with the Schola Cantorum, and then with the renowned Monteverdi Choir and the Academy of St Martin’s. Also a successful actor, he appeared on the West End stage as Sweeney Todd, played one of the first criminals to be apprehended by Superman in the 1978 film, and toured with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Oz Clarke says, “I can’t wait to get back on the choral stage with fantastic singers such as William Towers and Eloise Irving and the players of Armonico Consort. I’m really looking forward to exploring in depth the relationship between wine, women and song. (The director thinks it’s an evening of wine and song, but I’m determined to get women in there as well!) I’ve been sharpening up my vocal cords, which is causing much consternation amongst the musicians. Bring your ear plugs!”

Oz and Armonico Drink to Music is part of Bury St Edmunds Festival 2016 and is held at The Athenaeum on Friday 20 May at 7.30pm. Visit www.buryfestival.co.uk or ring 01284 758000 for more details or to book.

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