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THE Perth Festival of the Arts today reveals its 2014 programme, which runs from May 22 to June 1.

The festival concentrates its performances in Perth Concert Hall and St John's Kirk this year, with the closure of Perth Theatre for extensive refurbishment.

Regular guests English Touring Opera bring a full-scale production of Mozart's Magic Flute to the hall, utilising the orchestra pit for the first time. The festival's orchestral stars are Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, under chief conductor Vasily Petrenko, who has just extended his contract with the orchestra until 2015, with a programme that includes a new percussion concerto by Stewart Copeland of rock band The Police.

Montenegran classical guitar star Milos Karadaglic plays Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, and Jools Holland has vocalists Mel C and Marc Almond guesting with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. Chamber choir The Sixteen will be returning to St John's on their 2014 Choral Pilgrimage, with a concert of English Renaissance polyphony.

One of the stars of Stirling's Hogmanay, Dougie Maclean, has been commissioned to write and perform 'The Perthshire Cantata' for this year's festival. The song-based composition will incorporate traditional and contemporary styles to hymn the new city status of Perth and the countryside at the heart of Scotland all around it. Perthshire actor Ian Grieve will revive Kevin Toolis's one-man play The Confessions of Gordon Brown, which was a hit at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe.

l perthfestival.co.uk

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