IT HAS the potential to be one of the most exciting concerts of the current season.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra returns next week for the first of a pair of Huddersfield Town Hall concerts which will see out the current Kirklees orchestral season in style.

The man with the baton will be the orchestra’s charismatic conductor, the young Russian who has wowed audiences with his musical gifts and obvious empathy with the orchestra.

He will conduct a big programme on May 22 at the Town Hall which will include works from Mahler, Stravinsky, Fauré and Rimsky Korsakov.

Vasily made his conducting debut with the RLPO in 2004 and was soon appointed principal conductor, making him, at 26, the youngest ever in the post.

Since then he has been credited with revitalising the orchestra’s Russian repertoire, as well as its repertoire of works by Brahms and English music.

If his presence were not incentive enough, the orchestra will have as its guest the award-winning soprano Elizabeth Watts.

Elizabeth is seen as one of our most outstanding young singers. She won the Kathleen Ferrier Prize in 2006 and followed that up a year later with a place in the final of the Cardiff Singer of the World competition.

Elizabeth has recently been nominated for the Best Young British Classical Performer of the Year for the Classical Brit Awards.

The 30-year-old soprano was a chorister at Norwich Cathedral and read archaeology at Sheffield University.

When she won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music Benjamin Britten International Opera School in 2002, she was clearly on the road to a musical career.

She will be in Huddersfield to sing in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No 4, a four-movement orchestral piece which features a solo soprano finale, Das himmlische Leben, which presents a child’s vision of Heaven.

The piece is scored for flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, percussion and strings.

Next week’s concert will open with Rimsky Korsakov’s The Legend of Tsar Saltan: Suite.

The piece is taken from the fairy tale opera based on Pushkin’s poem of the same name. Rimsky Korsakov was known for his passion for folk and fairytale subjects and for his extraordinary skill in orchestration.

The programme includes Pavane, one of French composer’s Gabriel Fauré’s most popular pieces.

He wrote it in 1887, scoring it for a modest orchestra of strings, flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns.

Then comes a piece which was written in the early Forties by one of Russia’s most innovative composers, Igor Stravinsky.

He initially created Scherzo à la Russe for a jazz band and when it failed to take off, reworked it a year later for orchestra which went down a great deal better.

It is a light joyous piece which exudes Russian festivity and is much loved by concertgoers.

Friday’s concert will be preceded by the regular pre-concert discussion in the main hall at 6.40pm. The concert follows at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £7-£21.50 (plus concessions) from Kirklees booking offices, ticket hotline: 01484 223200.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic returns to Huddersfield on June 12 closing the current season with the powerful Fifth Symphony by Shostakovich.

The concert will see the return to the town hall stage of conductor Owain Arwel Hughes. For details visit or call 01484 234000.