THE return of Maldon Festival this weekend will mark its tenth anniversary with a distinct Russian flavour of festivities.

The annual festival began in 2007, bringing a host of classical music, opera, jazz and plenty more to the town, kicking off this Saturday.

Marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution in 2017, the distinctly Russian flavour to this year's programme will open with Chorus Anglicanum singing Rachmaninov's Vespers. Under their former name of the St Peter's Singers, the choir sang the same work at the inaugural Maldon Festival ten years ago.

The Russian theme is maintained in many of the concerts throughout the festival. The Stanford String Quartet returns, sponsored by Mighty Oak Brewery, to play Borodin's second quartet; themes from which were used in the famous musical Kismet.

The same themes are evident in his famous Polotsvian Dances, performed by the Chelmsford Singers. The main work in their programme is Orff's Carmina Burana.

There is also a showing of the silent film Battleship Potemkin, with a live accompaniment on the organ by Laurence Lyndon-Jones, sponsored by CML Microsystems.

Other events include The Glories of Venice, featuring some of Vivaldi's most popular cantatas for solo voice and strings, including the beautiful Nulla in Mondo. Chloe Stratta and Carlo Zanetti will be accompanied by Pegasus Baroque Strings in the stunning location of Mundon church. They are sponsored by the Limes Guesthouse.

Farmer's Ales sponsors the headline act of Joe Stilgoe, who brings a programme of his own songs, along with classic jazz numbers. His band features local boy, Tom Farmer on bass.

Wilkins of Tiptree sponsor a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury; something else that appeared at the first festival; and the final work this year is Bach's monumental B Minor Mass. Sponsored by Lidl Stores, it features the Choir of St Mary's and Pegasus Baroque Orchestra.

The festival runs from Saturday June 24 to July 8. All performances are individually priced.