Friday 5 March 2021

Nevill Holt Opera plans for its biggest and most ambitious festival to date with a new open-air performance space

Artist Impression of potentia -designs for Nevill Holt Opera 2021
Artist Impression of potentia -designs for Nevill Holt Opera 2021

Whilst the exact nature of live performance this Summer is still unclear, at minumum there is almost certain to be an element of social distancing. This means that smaller companies have to make some hard decisions, how to afford an opera season when the audience is a fraction of normal. Nevill Holt Opera has taken the brave and enterprising decision to create an entirely new performance space for 2021. 

This year the festival is being moved to August and will be performed outside, on a new outdoor stage and seating which will allow an audience of 650 people, socially distanced, per performance as well safe distancing for the performers. The orchestra will be on a large covered stage, with performers on a fore-stage which means that the audience will be closer to the performance. In a gesture which echoes the open rear of the stage at Santa Fe Opera (with its spectacular views of Arizona), the Nevill Holt stage will be open to frame views of the Leicestershire countryside.

Update: Cast and creatives have now been announced for the two productions. For La Traviata, Nicholas Chalmers will conduct the Manchester Camerata with Susana Gaspar as Violetta, Luis Gomes as Alfredo and Michel de Souza as Germont (all three formed Jette Parker Young Artists), directed by Jamie Manton. Don Giovanni features a team from Shadwell Opera, Finnegan Downie Dear (Shadwell Opera's music director) will conduct Shadwell:Ensemble, and Jack Furness (Shadwell Opera's artistic director) will direct, with a cast including Seán Boylan as Don Giovanni, Nicholas Crawley as Leporello, Aoife Miskelly as Donna Elvira, Olivia Warburton as Zerlina, Joshua Owen Mills as Don Ottavio, and Dingle Yandell as the Commendatore.

Nicholas Chalmers, Artistic Director of Nevill Holt Opera, comments, "Nevill Holt Opera 2021 is to be our biggest and most ambitious festival to date.  We invite you to come and immerse yourselves in the world of Mozart and Verdi in a beautiful outdoor staging.  ... We are responding to the events of the last year by opening up the festival to a larger audience, sharing our high artistic standards and doing everything we can to make your experience entertaining and uplifting.  We are all missing the arts and I personally cannot wait to conduct Verdi’s masterpiece, La traviata."

There are new productions of Verdi's La traviata and Mozart's Don Giovanni running from 4 August to 25 August 2021. Ticket prices are designed to be affordable, with prices from £35 and free for under-18s. In addition, the company is planning to present further performances and a mini festival in June, to include chamber music and solo recitals in the theatre, as well as additional performances in August.

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