Nevill Holt Opera (NHO) has announced the two operas that will form the main part of its 2022 summer festival. The opera house will stage new productions of Puccini’s La bohème (The Bohemians, 1896) and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (1816) in its award-winning theatre in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.
One of opera’s greatest and most tragic love stories, La bohème will be performed on 8, 9, 11, 12 and 14 June. When the beautiful seamstress Mimì knocks on the door of the penniless poet Rodolfo their passionate connection is instant, but their happiness is threatened by a tragic discovery.
This new production of Puccini’s ever-popular opera will be directed by Mathilda du Tillieul McNicol, who assisted director Jamie Manton on NHO’s production of La traviata (The Fallen Woman, Verdi, 1853) last summer. McNicol is a freelance director who has previously worked on productions with Royal Opera House, English National Opera and Scottish Opera.
The Barber of Seville is set to be directed by Anna Morrissey, an accomplished director of opera and dance who has also had her own theatre works performed on the West End. Morrissey worked with NHO on the company’s production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1960) in 2019.
Rossini’s comic masterpiece of deception and disguises fizzes with exquisite music and memorable melodies. The audience will be entertained by Figaro’s exploits as he and Count Almaviva work together to free the beautiful Rosina from her lecherous guardian, Bartolo. It will be performed on 23, 25, 26, 28 and 29 June.
It is a significant move on NHO’s part to appoint two female directors to these operas. Women are hugely under-represented at all levels in the opera industry, with recent research showing that almost 80% of operas over the UK 2018-19 season were directed by men. Of the 20% directed by women, most were contemporary or fringe productions that were less likely to be revived. Having two ‘canon’ operas directed by women is a step in the right direction.
Full details of the cast and creative teams for both operas will be announced in early 2022. Tickets go on sale to the general public in February, with priority booking for NHO members from January.
Two days of musical celebrations in the Nevill Holt gardens to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will open the summer festival. Preceding the two operas, this will take place over the weekend of 4-5 June.
In August 2021, NHO presented its largest and most ambitious opera festival to date, having had to cancel the previous year’s event due to Covid-19 restrictions. More people than ever attended an opera at the festival, while hundreds of free tickets were taken up by under-18s and local NHS workers were invited to attend dress rehearsals, alongside students, staff and their families from the DRET Academy schools across the Midlands.
Building on last year’s success, once the operas have closed, NHO is set to run a week of concerts and events in the theatre in July. Performances will include opera, orchestral music, jazz and much more. The opera house will be announcing the full details of the July programme of concerts and events ahead of general booking opening.
For further information, visit the What’s on pages on NHO’s website.
“With more music on offer than ever before, we can’t wait to fill our theatre with audiences once again,” NHO said in a statement.
Nevill Holt Opera has announced two female directors for the two new productions that will make up the opera house’s summer season. Anna Morrisey will take the reins on Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, while Mathilda du Tillieul McNicol leads Puccini’s La bohème.