Snape Maltings has a wide range of musical treats and food-related events lined up for the Easter weekend. Arts Editor Andrew Clarke takes a look at the diverse concerts and family activities on offer.

East Anglian Daily Times: Musician at Snape Maltings. Photo: Keiko OikawaMusician at Snape Maltings. Photo: Keiko Oikawa (Image: Archant)

The Aldeburgh Festival and the Snape Proms dominate the cultural offering to be found at the Snape Maltings but there is a dazzling arts programme running throughtout the year.

Easter at Snape this year has a definate dramatic feel to it, mixing top class performances with family events, workshops and food-related events. The idea is that the music will feed your soul, the art and crafts will inspire your imagination while the wide-ranging food offer will not only fill hungry stomachs but will trigger a natural curiosity to uncover new tasty cuisine.

Also, a traditional Easter Egg hunt will encourage families to go and explore the whole site which mixes Suffolk’s industrial heritage with it’s natural landscape.

East Anglian Daily Times: Gabrieli Consort who are performing as part of Snape's Easter music programme. Photo: Andy StaplesGabrieli Consort who are performing as part of Snape's Easter music programme. Photo: Andy Staples (Image: Archant)

Snape’s artistic director Roger Wright said of this year’s programme: “Concert music bursting with drama will dominate this Easter Weekend, performed by the finest emerging professional and local musicians, and one of this country’s standout early music ensembles. Handel’s heroine Theodora draws us in with her strength and humanity – and some wonderfully rich and varied music – whilst Bach’s sacred music milestone unravels the mysteries and dramatic potential of the mass in an energetic affirmation of faith.”

The Easter programme is preceeded by a week of public masterclasses (26-30 March) with some of the country’s finest established and emerging musicians, led by renowned British Handel experts Sarah Connolly and Christian Curnyn.

Talented singers and musicians from the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme bring Handel’s Theodora to life for an incredible Easter Saturday performance (31 March, 7pm). “Handel’s Theodora is technically an oratorio rather than an opera, but the inspiration, characterisation and sheer emotional power of this tale of martyrdom and loyalty in the early Church give it a sense of drama that sweeps all before it,” says Roger. “Ceaselessly inventive, its scenes of meditative contemplation of love and faith contain some of Handel’s most ravishing music.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth outside Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Photo: Keiko OikawaSculpture by Barbara Hepworth outside Snape Maltings Concert Hall. Photo: Keiko Oikawa (Image: Archant)

Snape will be marking Good Friday with the return of the Gabrieli Consort and Players to Snape Maltings’ Concert Hall (30 March, 7.30pm). As one of the leading early music ensembles, they are celebrated for their historically informed and exciting performances of music from the renaissance to the present day, under the baton of their founder and artistic director Paul McCreesh. Bach’s Mass in B Minor is a towering masterpiece, and the Gabrieli Consort always relishes the task of tackling such large-scale and challenging works.

Earlier in the day, as part of their Snape Residency, the Albion Quartet will present a programme of Dvo?ák and Haydn (Friday 30 March, noon), and Aldeburgh Voices showcase the whispered chants and shattering choral outbursts of MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross on Saturday 31 March at 3pm. Both concerts will take place at Orford Church.

“James MacMillan’s vivid, profound setting of Christ’s last words contemplates the darkness before the light, whilst quartets by Haydn and Dvo?ák have a freshness and invention as vibrant as the coming of Spring itself.”

Throughout the weekend, Snape Maltings will be buzzing with activity including a special Easter Farmers’ Market with delicious and local artisan treats, family art activities and live music in the Concert Hall Café and a chocolate filled Easter Egg hunt.