NHO Summer Opera Festival 2021

11th February 2021

Nevill Holt Opera, News

NHO announces most ambitious festival yet for August 2021

While the country remains locked down, we have been looking ahead and have made the decision to move our opera festival outdoors and stage it in August this year. In order to ensure plenty of fresh air for our audiences, we will be building an outdoor stage and seating to enable a socially distanced audience of up to 650 people per performance.  At the same time, we have worked to make our pricing range more affordable, with tickets starting from just £35 and free for under-18s.

The summer festival will present the operas that had been scheduled for the cancelled 2020 season – Verdi’s La traviata and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  A giant, covered stage will feature a socially distanced orchestra for each performance, while a further stage in front for the singers ensures audience members will feel close to the action. The stage set-up is being designed to frame the sensational valley views from Nevill Holt, and to celebrate NHO’s location in Leicestershire. As part of NHO’s commitment to its home in the East Midlands, we will be working with more local businesses to deliver our festival this year than ever before.

Three seating zones will enable audiences to choose whether they would prefer to relax and spread out on picnic blankets on the lawn, to watch the opera from a comfortable seat on a raked seating bank, or to ensure they beat the weather by choosing a premium spot in a tiered and covered grandstand. Nevill Holt Opera is housed within one of England’s most beautiful country house estates and the outdoor stage will highlight the breath-taking views and enable visitors to truly immerse themselves in the landscaped gardens adorned with outstanding British sculpture including works by Anthony Gormley, Marc Quinn and Conrad Shawcross.

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.  Our exceptional young artists, creative teams and orchestra partners are working hard to bring you visual and musical delights as you take in the fantastic view of the Welland Valley from our home at Nevill Holt.  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. In June, we will be hosting chamber music and solo recitals in our award-winning theatre and inviting you to share in the glories that make Nevill Holt such a special place; intimacy, spectacular gardens and wonderful singing.  All this can be enjoyed while knowing you are supporting some of the very best of operatic talent, alongside our year-round programme of education work.”

Managing Director, Annie Lydford, says, “We are all invigorated to be presenting our largest and most inclusive festival yet despite the challenges of the last year. We felt strongly, at this time when people crave brilliant live experiences perhaps more than ever, that reducing our capacity and raising our prices simply wasn’t an option. With fantastic artists and technicians, two creative, beautiful productions – not to mention the wonderful Nevill Holt grounds and gardens – we want to make sure our audiences have an unforgettable time with us this summer.  Having received crucial support to aid our survival from government, from independent trusts and foundations, and from individuals, we recognise the responsibility we have to ensure that the communities we serve across the East Midlands can continue to enjoy fantastic performances with us this summer. Particularly, we are proud to offer hundreds of free tickets across the season completely free of charge to under-18s – a commitment which reflects the importance of the year-round education programme which has been at NHO’s core since the company began.

NHO is an independent festival run by its board, Artistic Director, Nicholas Chalmers, and Managing Director, Annie Lydford.  More than 55% 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 up to 10% through an annual grant from the David Ross Foundation.  NHO has received vital support this year from the Cultural Recovery Fund and from the Garfield Weston Foundation, both of which have played a crucial role in the organisation’s ability to mount a festival this summer.   

In addition to its festival in August, NHO is planning to present further performances and a mini festival in June, to include chamber music and solo recitals in its theatre, as well as additional performances in August. 

Further details of orchestra partners, cast and creative teams will be announced at the end of February. 

Please note that the artist impressions of early site designs included throughout this page are subject to change and will evolve significantly as plans for the festival develop.


Performance Dates

La traviata
Wednesday 4th August, 3.30pm
Thursday 5th August, 3.30pm
Saturday 7th August, 3.30pm
Sunday 8th August, 2.30pm
Tuesday 10th August, 3.30pm

Don Giovanni
Thursday 19th August, 3.30pm
Saturday 21st August, 3.30pm
Sunday 22nd August, 2.30pm
Tuesday 24th August, 3.30pm
Wednesday 25th August, 3.30pm

Box Office Tickets will be available from www.nevillholtopera.co.uk.

Find out more about the different ticket types here.

The festival will have strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place, and be carefully following up-to-date official advice and restrictions. If guidance changes and it becomes necessary to cancel these events, all ticket buyers will be offered a full refund.

Join us as a Member to access priority booking.

Members enjoy priority booking for Nevill Holt Opera’s Summer Festival and other key events.

Priority Booking for our summer opera festival in August opens on the 4 March.

Public Booking opens at 10am on the 1 April.

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