Wine legend Oz to come to Harrogate for special event

Starring in Harrogate International Festivals event - Wine expert Oz Clarke.
Starring in Harrogate International Festivals event - Wine expert Oz Clarke.

Top wine critic and broadcaster Oz Clarke is to join famed Renaissance and Baroque music maestros the Armonico Consort in what should be a highly entertaining evening in Harrogate.

Held in the stunning surroundings of St Wilfrid’s Church as part of Harrogate International Festivals’ summer programme, the event will be packed with tales of drunkenness, gluttony and misfortune with top quality musical interludes - and the chance to .enjoy wine tasting along the way!

Presented in a relaxed, cabaret style, the much-loved wine critic is best-known for hit BBC TV shows Food And Drink and Oz And James’ Big Wine Adventure.

A wine critic hooking up with a celebrated musical troupe is not as odd an idea as readers might imagine.

Oz himself was a professional singer for many years, as well as a successful actor, and is passionate about making connections betwween good wine and good music.

Oz said: “There’s some mad Oxford professor who says that if you get the right wine and the right music together it increases your enjoyment of both by 15%.

“Well I could have told you that! I have lots of great stories to tell about these composers who spent most of their time under the table pickled and then come out and create some brilliant piece of music.

“We get belly laughs from baroque music, and that’s not easy, but we do it!”

The musicians coming to St Wilfrid’s Church seem to concur with Oz’s sentiments.

Armonico’s artistic director, Christopher Monks said “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.”

As for the event’s musical programme, fans of, perhaps, the greatest symphonic composer of all time.

Christopher Monks said: “The new programme is going to reach areas that most wines do not!

“Beethoven will be a big feature and we have unearthed materials and stories that will make people see the master in a way that they have never seen him before.”

Oz & Armonico: Drink to Music! takes place at 7.30pm on Saturday, July 1 at St Wilfrid’s Church, Harrogate.