Nevill Holt Opera is set to host a concert to showcase the talents of three exceptional young artists, the Leicestershire-based opera house has announced. The Rising Star Recital features contralto Jess Dandy, tenor Laurence Kilsby and pianist Ella O’Neill. The concert will take place in Nevill Holt’s award-winning theatre on 10 June at 7pm.

Described by Nevill Holt as an intimate concert, the Rising Star Recital will feature a selection of operatic and classical highlights performed by these three talented soloists.

Jess Dandy has been described as a “name to watch” by The Times. She is in demand across the concert and recital platform around the world. In 2019 she was Nevill Holt Messiah soloist and in 2021 she was shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the Young Artist category in 2021.

Dandy has performed with the Orchestre révolutionnaire et romantique, The English Concert, Florilegium, Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales, The Academy of Ancient Music, The Dunedin Consort, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Les Arts florissants.

She is a co-founder of SongPath, a mental health initiative creating musical walking trails in nature for better mental health. Along with composer Alex Mills, she is developing the Music & Being Collective, an open laboratory space exploring music and our sense of self through interdisciplinary dialogue.

Listen to Dandy sing Bach’s ‘Erbarme dich’ from his sacred oratorio the St Matthew Passion, performed with The Dunedin Consort:

Laurence Kilsby is a former Nevill Holt Emerging Artist; he was also described as a “young singer to watch” by The Times. He was the recipient of the 2018 Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers, as well as the winner of the 2022 Wigmore Hall/Bollinger International Song Competition and the 2022 Cesti Competition at the Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik. More recently, Kilsby was awarded joint first prize in the 2023 Das Lied Competition at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival.

He has performed with Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Paris Opera studio, the Royal Opera of Versailles, Ensemble Pygmalion, Opera North and the Nederlandse Reisopera.

Pianist Ella O’Neill is currently the Lord and Lady Lurgan Collaborative Piano Fellow at the Royal College of Music, from which she graduated with distinction in 2019. During her time there she won the Alasdair Graham Pianist Prize in the RCM Lieder Competition and second prize in the Brooks van der Pump English Song Competition.

In April 2019, she won the Help Musicians UK Accompanist’s Prize in Memory of Arthur and Gwyneth Harrison in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards at Wigmore Hall. She recently returned to the hall for the final of the Wigmore Hall/Bollinger International Song Competition with fellow recitalist, tenor Laurence Kilsby, who was awarded first prize.

O’Neill has performed at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Cadogan Hall, the Royal Opera House Crush Room, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Sage Gateshead, Cedars Hall, Oxford Lieder Festival, Buxton International Festival, Lewes Song Festival, Leeds Lieder and Brighton Festival.

As a répétiteur, she has worked for companies including Grange Park Opera, English Touring Opera, Mid Wales Opera, Tête à Tête Festival, Operasonic and Barefoot Opera.

Listen to Laurence Kilsby and Ella O’Neill perform Britten’s ‘Canticle I: My Beloved is Mine’ in the semi-final of the Wigmore Song Competition 2022:

Tickets for the Rising Star Recital are on sale now, costing £24-£34. The concert takes place at 7pm on 10 June, in the Nevill Holt Theatre.



Clockwise from top left: tenor Laurence Kilsby, contralto Jess Dandy  and pianist Ella O’Neill will perform at Nevill Holt Opera’s Rising Star Recital in June.