Nevill Holt Opera’s 2022 summer festival

Nevill Holt Opera (Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 8EG) announces 2022 operas and an exciting festival of concerts and events – June to July 2022

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Nevill Holt Opera (NHO) has announced its 2022 summer festival, with well-loved operas La bohéme and The Barber of Seville followed by a further festival of performances from musicians and groups including Jess Gillam, Abel Selaocoe, Sam Jewison, the Dunedin Consort and many more. Following its successful 2021 season, which saw more people than ever before enjoy opera at Nevill Holt, NHO is now expanding its summer performances with a further eight concerts to encourage music-lovers to enjoy world-class music in the heart of Leicestershire.

La bohéme, Puccini’s most renowned opera, follows the story of impoverished bohemians Mimì, Rodolfo and their friends. The role of Mimì will be performed by Nigerian-American soprano Francesca Chiejina, a graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme; Peter Scott Drackley (Sweeney Todd, Des Moines Metro Opera; Tosca, Anchorage Opera) takes the role of Rodolfo; Alexandra Oomens, a Harewood Artist with ENO, is Musetta; Frank Spedding Leider Prize-winning Christopher Nairne is Marcello; Jette Parker Young Artist Dominic Sedgwick is Schaunard; and Colline is played by Dingle Yandell (Akhnaten, ENO; The Magic Flute, Scottish Opera), who returns after performing at NHO in 2021. La bohéme will be directed by Mathilda du Tillieul McNicol, who was Assistant Director of NHO’s La traviata in 2021, and the designer will be Linbury Prize winner Basia Bińkowska (othellomacbeth, Lyric Hammersmith; Love and other Acts of Violence, Donmar Warehouse). Manchester Camerata returns to NHO to bring Puccini’s beautiful score to life under the baton of NHO’s Artistic Director Nicholas Chalmers.

Rossini’s sparkling The Barber of Seville sees the return of Royal Northern Sinfonia to NHO, led by their Principal Conductor Dinis Souza. The production will be directed by Anna Morrissey (ROH; RSC), who directed NHO’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2019 (Morrissey’s lively modern-dress staging… brings bright ideas and fresh young voices to Britten and Peter Pears’s masterly reduction of Shakespeare’s woodland comedy – The Times). The role of Rosina will be taken by Katie Bray (Hansel and Gretel, Opera North; Griselda, Irish National Opera); Dr Bartolo will be played by Grant Doyle (Turandot, ROH; Don Giovanni, Garsington Opera); Samling Artist and Bicentenary Scholar at Royal Academy Opera Liam Bonthrone will perform the role of Count Almaviva; Michel de Souza (Tosca and Carmen, ROH) returns to NHO as Figaro after a much-praised debut as Germont in 2021’s La traviata; Icelandic bass-baritone Andri Björn Róbertsson (Le nozze di Figaro, Icelandic Opera; Lessons in Love and Violence, ROH and Opera National de Lyon) is Basilio; Berta will be performed by Janis Kelly (Falstaff, Grange Park Opera; The Marriage of Figaro, ROH); and former NHO Young Artist Malachy Frame completes the cast as Fiorello.

NHO SUMMER FESTIVAL 2022: The NHO 2022 Summer Festival will see a wide variety of music concerts and performances in NHO’s award-winning theatre throughout June and July. The Swingles, one of the world’s most admired vocal groups will perform on 10 June. Pianist and vocalist Sam Jewison is joined by his all-star band on 24 June for an evening celebrating the classic jazz of The Great American Songbook, including a performance of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. On 5 July, South African cellist and rapidly rising star Abel Selaocoe will perform Sirocco with the Manchester Collective, combining virtuosic performance with improvisation, singing and body percussion.

Renowned for her solo performance at the prestigious Last Night of the Proms in 2018, TV and radio presenter and saxophonist Jess Gillam will be joined by the string sections of Manchester Camerata for a programme including Glazunov’s Concerto, Op.109 on 6 July. Thick & Tight will present Short & Sweet (The Times gave it 4 stars; The Stage, five stars) on 7 July, an amuse-bouche platter of works that will excite and delight in a modern variety show of dance, drag, lip-syncing and satire. On 8 July Scotland’s leading Baroque ensemble, Dunedin Consort, will perform Handel’s Acis and Galatea (‘utterly magical’ – Gramophone) on period instruments, led by John Butt OBE, with singers Nicholas Mulroy, Rachel Redmond, Christopher Purves, Anthony Gregory and Nicholas Scott. On 9 July, Manchester Camerata will bring Charlie Chaplin’s comedy drama film and emotive score of The Kid (1921) to life.

Nicholas Chalmers, the Artistic Director of NHO, says, ‘Our 2022 season continues to strengthen our core NHO values. The promotion of talented singers and creatives such as Mathilda de Tillieul McNicol, who assisted on last year’s La traviata and will now direct La bohéme, and Malachy Frame, who last year was in our chorus as a NHO Young Artist and this year takes on a principal role, is combined with performances from fantastic, well-established singers such as Janis Kelly and outstanding singers towards the start of their careers. We believe in supporting talented singers at every stage in their development – from taking part in our primary and secondary school workshops or our Foundation Artist programme for school-leavers, right through to joining us as Emerging or Associate Artists for our full season. This summer, we are also particularly looking forward to welcoming a chorus of local school children to perform in La bohéme, and to the return of our wonderful orchestra partners Manchester Camerata and Royal Northern Sinfonia. It was inspiring to see the reaction to our 2021 outdoor opera festival, with more people joining us than ever before, and we look forward to welcoming them back this year.

Annie Lydford, Managing Director of NHO, comments, ‘We are so excited by the range and quality of musicians and performers joining us for this summer’s festival at Nevill Holt. In 2021 our week of socially distanced concerts and performances in June sold out almost instantly, and so we are looking forward to presenting a further festival of eight dates in addition to our two opera productions this summer. Although last year’s outdoor festival was a great success, it is fantastic to be planning to be back in our RIBA Award-winning theatre, and to have to worry less about the impact of the Great British weather! As we approach NHO’s 10-year anniversary in 2023, we want to continue welcoming more and more people each year to enjoy fantastic opera, music and performance in this beautiful place.

NHO is an independent charity and festival run by its board, Artistic Director, Nicholas Chalmers, and Managing Director, Annie Lydford. Since it began in 2013, NHO has been committed to both working with young people and communities across the Midlands and to training and casting up-and-coming UK opera singers at the start of their careers, while bringing high-quality opera and music to Leicestershire. More than 60% of its income is generated from ticket sales, 25% from fundraising and membership, 10% from other activity such as catering, merchandise and theatre hire, and 5% through an annual grant from the David Ross Foundation. NHO received vital support in 2021 from the Cultural Recovery Fund and from the Garfield Weston Foundation, both of which played a crucial role in the organisation’s ability to mount a summer festival in 2021.

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