Arundel Festival: Andrew back in Barons’ Hall

Andrew Rees remembers thinking what a great venue The Baronsʼ Hall in Arundel Castle must be when he walked in, just as a visitor.

Now he is back, performing alongside his wife Joanne Appleby in what is sure to be one of the great highlights of this year’s Arundel Festival - Music For A Summer Evening

on Monday, August 22 at 7.30pm.

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Andrew and Joanne will perform classics from opera, well-known show songs and music from Puccini, Cole Porter, Mozart, Kurt Weill and Rodgers & Hammerstein.

Of course, a big part of the pleasure will be simply working with Joanne: “We don’t work that much together any more. We did work together at Glyndebourne, and that’s what brought both of us down here. And then I went off and did my own thing and Jo went off and did her own thing. We do the odd concert together here and there and the odd corporate thing.”

Working together isn’t necessarily that easy, Andrew laughs: “It’s great fun on the whole, but rehearsals can be a bit fraught, both of us trying to stamp our authority!

“But it can be very special on the night, especially when we are doing an intimate love duet. There can be the added twinkle, especially when people don’t realise. People will say that we have got such a good chemistry between us, and I will say ‘I hope so! We have been married for five years.”

Joanne and Andrew are mum and dad to three-year-old Will, and there’s another baby boy on the way, due to be born in October. Andrew admits that when it comes to parenting, being in the business he is in has its pros and cons.

“The cons are that you can be away for quite a while. A couple of years ago, I was in France for the best part of three months. Jo came out with Will, but they were delayed on this side of the Channel which meant she missed her connection, and she had a very long journey.”

Not long after the new baby’s birth, Andrew will be off to Tel Aviv for six weeks from January; and it’s not easy to take the family along, because of all the upheaval it would cause.

“But we do have Skype and that’s a great help. I can see them. It’s difficult, but it is better than not seeing them at all.”

Castle grounds & gardens open: 5.30pm; Castle doors open: 7.00pm; Performance starts: 7.30pm. Tickets: £25 includes admission to gardens from 5.30pm for picnics and a complimentary glass of wine in the interval.