Mu­sic at the Manor

Soiree re­turns in style

Cheshire Life - - Inside - WORDS: John Cun­ning­ham

The year 1893 saw one of those in­spired mo­ments in his­tory when, by chance, a fas­ci­nat­ing story be­gan to un­fold. Wil­liam, the first Vis­count Lev­er­hulme, bought Thorn­ton Manor, a mod­est coun­try house built in the 19th cen­tury in Thorn­ton Hough on the Wir­ral, in which he, his wife El­iz­a­beth Ellen, and his son, Wil­liam Hulme would make their home. Then fol­lowed 25 years of re­con­struc­tion and al­ter­ations to the Vis­count’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions and the Manor and the grounds be­came the breath-tak­ing prop­erty that it is now. These days, Thorn­ton Manor is a renowned and lux­u­ri­ous set­ting for wed­dings and busi­ness con­fer­ences but the el­e­gant Grade 11 listed build­ing is an ideal set­ting for con­certs.

Mu­sic was an im­por­tant part of the Lev­er­hulme fam­ily’s life, as well as be­ing a part of his en­ter­tain­ing of friends and im­por­tant vis­i­tors. Pic­ture the scene: ladies in fin­ery and gen­tle­men in high, stiff col­lars would take the air round the land­scaped grounds be­fore pro­ceed­ing into the en­trance hall where drinks would be served.

At a sign from a uni­formed at­ten­dant, those present would gather in the splen­did 1902 Mu­sic Room. Here, they would be en­ter­tained by some of the most cel­e­brated mu­si­cians of the day.

One of the fea­tures that the Vis­count added was a pipe or­gan, built into a small bal­cony over­look­ing the as­sem­bled guests – a unique fea­ture, even among great houses.

An imag­i­na­tive look into a time long gone, per­haps, but there are plans to bring back to life Vis­count Lev­er­hulme’s orig­i­nal dream of cre­at­ing a place where friends would gather to en­joy mu­sic in the lovely sur­round­ings and re­lax in good com­pany.

The team who in­tend to make this a re­al­ity has the same imag­i­na­tion and sense of his­tory as had the Vis­count him­self. As part of the Wir­ral Arts Fes­ti­val the Or­ches­tra dell’arte, to­gether with the present own­ers of the Manor will be host­ing a trio of top artists from Welsh Na­tional Opera in an in­ti­mate re­cre­ation of a mu­si­cal house party from the ear­li­est days of the Mu­sic Room.

Once more, the su­perbly dec­o­rated and fur­nished space will res­onate to some of the best voices in the UK. Known as Volante, tenor Si­mon Crosby But­tle and bari­tone Ju­lian Boyce will per­form some of the best­known songs from the world of grand opera and mu­si­cal the­atre.

The pro­gramme ranges from the las­civ­i­ous an­tics of Mozart’s Don Gio­vanni, the tragedy of Bizet’s Car­men and the comic but dan­ger­ous med­dling in Puc­cini’s Gianni Schic­chi, to the charm of Gilbert and Sul­li­van’s foray into the craze for all things from the Far East of that time, The Mikado.

On Mon­day Oc­to­ber 8th Mu­sic at the Manor will start in the orig­i­nal way, with drinks served from 6.45pm. Fol­low­ing in the his­toric foot­steps of the Vis­count’s guests, to­day’s mu­sic-lovers will stroll in the grounds un­til sum­moned to the Mu­sic Room at 7.45pm for the con­cert.

As the mu­sic plays, take a look up to the or­gan loft...you might catch a shad­owy glimpse of the Vis­count him­self who will be thor­oughly en­joy­ing the spec­ta­cle! He would cer­tainly ap­prove. For fur­ther de­tails please visit www.thorn­ton­manor.co.uk www.wirralarts­fes­ti­val.co.uk www.del­larte.co.uk

“To­day’s mu­sic lovers will stroll in the grounds un­til sum­moned to the Mu­sic Room for the con­cert”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.