Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pomp and Pageantry; Graeme Danby Makes His Debut at the North East Last Night of the Proms This Month. David Whetstone Met Him

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pomp and Pageantry; Graeme Danby Makes His Debut at the North East Last Night of the Proms This Month. David Whetstone Met Him

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone

AFTER a rousing rendition of The Blaydon Races at St James's Park last April, opera singer Graeme Danby described himself as someone who "bleeds black and white".

But the Geordie favourite is also happy to parade in red, white and blue.

Graeme is a star turn at this month's North East Last Night of the Proms and will also act as compere, the first time in its 19 years that the event has had anyone perform such a role.

Is he patriotic? "I am, incredibly," he declares. "And I'm stoutly English, but not to the point of devolution. I'm a huge, huge believer in the British Isles."

A passionate sports lover - and follower of Newcastle United - he elaborates: "I miss the Home Internationals (football) and I love the Six Nations (rugby union) but politics should have no place in sport and there's great strength in the idea of the United Kingdom."

Big voice, big personality; that's what you get from the North East singer.

In many ways, it's surprising it has taken him this long to be invited to stand alongside Janice Cairns, Suzanne Manuell and Blake Fischer as a soloist at the Geordie Proms.

Rosalynde Walker, the driving force behind a concert which has raised over pounds 1m for cancer charities, says she was always afraid to ask him because he was so busy.

Graeme says that for the last 23 years he has sung at a concert organised by Ponteland Rotary Club that invariably falls the night after the Proms concert at Newcastle City Hall.

"It has become a fantastic part of my life and I treat the concert very seriously. I always felt that taking on a big concert the night before would be too much of an undertaking.

"But this year I said yes because, of course, you can't fault the charity aspect of it. Now I'm really looking forward to it."

Graeme has sung with many of the world's great opera companies and with many of its great stars, including Benjamin Luxon who was one of the first headline performers at the North East Last Night of the Proms.

Next year he will sing in A Midsummer Night's Dream at La Scala, Milan, and in Brussels in The Marriage of Figaro. …

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