Nevill Holt Opera (NHO) has announced details of the two operas and programme of concerts that make up its Summer Festival 2022, taking place throughout June and July at the company’s award-winning opera house in the grounds of Nevill Holt Hall, Market Harborough, Leicestershire.
The two operas on the roster are Puccini’s most renowned opera, La bohéme (The Bohemians, 1896), and Rossini’s sparkling comedy, The Barber of Seville (1816). The former follows the story of impoverished lovers Mimì and Rodolfo and their bohemian friends as they navigate poverty, love, heartbreak and death in 19th century Paris.
The role of Mimì will be performed by Nigerian-American soprano Francesca Chiejina, a graduate of the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme (JPYA), while American tenor Peter Scott Drackley takes the role of Rodolfo. Australian soprano Alexandra Oomens, a Harewood Artist with English National Opera, is Musetta; Frank Spedding Leider Prize-winning baritone Christopher Nairne is Marcello; JPYA baritone Dominic Sedgwick is Schaunard; and Colline is played by British bass-baritone Dingle Yandell, who returns to the NHO stage after performing there in 2021.
La bohéme will be directed by Mathilda du Tillieul McNicol and the designer is Linbury Prize-winner Basia Bińkowska. Manchester Camerata returns to NHO to bring Puccini’s beautiful score to life under the baton of NHO Artistic Director Nicholas Chalmers.
The Barber of Seville sees the return of Royal Northern Sinfonia to NHO, led by the orchestra’s Principal Conductor Dinis Souza; it is directed by Anna Morrissey. The opera sees Figaro, the barber of the title, aiding the amorous Count Almaviva in winning the heart of the beautiful Rosina, saving her from the clutches of her guardian, Dr Bartolo.
Brazilian baritone Michel de Souza returns to NHO as Figaro, after his much-praised debut as Germont in 2021’s La traviata (The Fallen Woman, 1853). The role of Rosina is taken by British mezzo-soprano Katie Bray, with Scottish tenor Liam Bonthrone as Count Almaviva. Dr Bartolo is played by Australian baritone Grant Doyle.
Nicholas Chalmers, artistic director of NHO, commented: “Our 2022 season continues to strengthen our core NHO values, such as 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.
“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.”
The Summer Festival will also see a wide variety of music concerts and performances in NHO’s award-winning theatre. The Swingles, one of the world’s most admired vocal groups, will perform, while pianist and vocalist Sam Jewison is joined by his all-star band for an evening celebrating the classic jazz of The Great American Songbook. South African cellist and rapidly rising star Abel Selaocoe will perform Sirocco with the Manchester Collective.
Renowned for her solo performance at the Last Night of the Proms in 2018, saxophonist Jess Gillam will be joined by the string sections of Manchester Camerata for a programme including Glazunov’s Concerto, Op 109. Thick & Tight will present Short & Sweet, a modern variety show of dance, drag, lip-syncing and satire. Scotland’s leading Baroque ensemble, Dunedin Consort, will perform Handel’s Acis and Galatea on period instruments, led by John Butt OBE, with singers Nicholas Mulroy, Rachel Redmond, Christopher Purves, Anthony Gregory and Nicholas Scott. Manchester Camerata will bring Charlie Chaplin’s comedy drama film and emotive score of The Kid to life.
Annie Lydford, managing director of NHO, added: “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.”
The Summer Festival takes place from 8 June to 10 July. Tickets for the two operas are on sale now, with general booking for the rest of the festival opening on 3 March. Ticket prices start at £25. For details of dates and performance times, and to book tickets, visit NHO’s website.
Nevill Holt Opera Artistic Director Nicholas Chalmers will conduct the company’s production of Puccini’s La bohéme at its Summer Festival 2022 (Mark Pinder).