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Opera, knitting songs and classic French chanson—in Byker

Published: 4 February 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

In her whistle-stop North East debut, ahead of an international tour in 2019, Canadian Opera singer Melanie Gall brings three different shows to The Cumberland Arms in Byker—all in one day, Sunday 3rd March.

Produced by CaroleW Productions and marking the launch of The Cumberland Arms’ week-long celebration of International Women’s Day, including music, theatre comedy and a cask & keg take-over by the UKs female brewers, the three shows will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

First up at 2:30 is Opera Mouse, an introduction to opera for children. It’s the story of Tilly Mouse who lives under an opera house and just loves to sing. But whenever anyone sees her, they scream and run away. With determination, imagination and help from her friends in the audience, Tilly proves that even a mouse can be a star.

Then at 4:00, Miss Gall returns to The Cumby stage with Stitch in Time: A Knitting Cabaret. This is an opportunity for knitters and others to bring along their needlepoint or knitting and listen to the very nearly lost knitting songs of World Wars I & II. These songs, the sentimental, the propagandist and the novelty, were very close to disappearing forever, but in this show Melanie Gall preserves this entertaining footnote in history and gives the songs a chance to live again.

The day of shows finishes at 7:00 with Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Cabaret, which revives the lives, loves and songs of two of the greatest French singers of the twentieth century, Edit Piaf and Jacques Brel, including such classics as "Milord", "Amsterdam" and "La Vie en Rose".

“It’s been a real pleasure to put this season together,” said producer Carole Wears. “I simply don’t programme anything I haven’t see and loved myself. Melanie’s beautiful shows travel the world with her in a suitcase, but they pack an incredible punch, each one perfectly formed—from the Carnegie Hall to the Cumberland Arms she doesn’t miss a beat.”

“Carole has long told me about the North East Audience and their legendary welcome," said Melanie Gall. “I’m looking forward to working with her; she’s been garnering quite a reputation with my colleagues on the international circuit for the work she’s doing. I’m especially excited to be part of the launch event leading up to International Women’s Day at The Cumberland Arms—maybe I’ll just stay and give my Canadian tour a miss!”