Paul McGrath's role on BBC's Maestro at the Opera show

04/05 Updated: 04/05 12:40

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Buy photos » Warwick University's director of music Paul McGrath has been mentoring Marcus du Sautoy (s)

TV mathematician Marcus du Sautoy will attempt to cut it as an orchestra conductor - with the help of Warwick University.

The university's director of music Paul McGrath will mentor him on the new series of popular BBC Two show Maestro at the Opera. The first show was aired on Friday.

Mr du Sautoy - Oxford's professor of mathematics, who has also forged a career on radio and TV - will be competing against actress Josie Lawrence, DJ Trevor Nelson and Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood for the opportunity to conduct a full act of a legendary opera at the Royal Opera House.

And Mr McGrath spent this week showing his celebrity student just how it is done by conducting the English Touring Opera's performance of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville’ at Warwick Arts Centre, which runs until Sunday.

He said: "I am thrilled to be part of a TV programme that shows what it is that opera conductors actually do and hopefully some of that will be revealed during the three part series.

"The big bonus for me is that my celeb student is a fabulous person, and we get on like a house on fire."

Mr McGrath studied at the National Opera Studio and outside of the university is well known as an opera conductor. He is a former associate conductor to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and made his BBC Proms debut in the summer of 1997 conducting Deborah Warner's staging of Honegger's Jeanne d'Arc.

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