Nevill Holt Opera, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 8EG
June – July 2022
Nevill Holt Opera (NHO) has announced its 2022 summer festival, with well-loved operas La bohéme
and The Barber of Seville followed by a further festival of performances from musicians and groups
including Jess Gillam, Abel Selaocoe, Sam Jewison, the Dunedin Consort and many more. Following its
successful 2021 season, which saw more people than ever before enjoy opera at Nevill Holt, NHO is
now expanding its summer performances with a further eight concerts to encourage music-lovers to
enjoy world-class music in the heart of Leicestershire.
La bohéme, Puccini’s most renowned opera, follows the story of impoverished bohemians Mimì,
Rodolfo and their friends. The role of Mimì will be performed by Nigerian-American soprano
Francesca Chiejina, a graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme; Peter Scott Drackley
(Sweeney Todd, Des Moines Metro Opera; Tosca, Anchorage Opera) takes the role of Rodolfo;
Alexandra Oomens, a Harewood Artist with ENO, is Musetta; Frank Spedding Leider Prize-winning
Christopher Nairne is Marcello; Jette Parker Young Artist Dominic Sedgwick is Schaunard; and Colline
is played by Dingle Yandell (Akhnaten, ENO; The Magic Flute, Scottish Opera), who returns after
performing at NHO in 2021. La bohéme will be directed by Mathilda du Tillieul McNicol, who was
Assistant Director of NHO’s La traviata in 2021, and the designer will be Linbury Prize winner Basia
Bińkowska (othellomacbeth, Lyric Hammersmith; Love and other Acts of Violence, Donmar
Warehouse). Manchester Camerata returns to NHO to bring Puccini’s beautiful score to life under
the baton of NHO’s Artistic Director Nicholas Chalmers.
Rossini’s sparkling The Barber of Seville sees the return of Royal Northern Sinfonia to NHO, led by
their Principal Conductor Dinis Souza. The production will be directed by Anna Morrissey (ROH; RSC),
who directed NHO’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2019 (Morrissey’s lively modern-dress staging…
brings bright ideas and fresh young voices to Britten and Peter Pears’s masterly reduction of
Shakespeare’s woodland comedy – The Times). The role of Rosina will be taken by Katie Bray (Hansel
and Gretel, Opera North; Griselda, Irish National Opera); Dr Bartolo will be played by Grant Doyle
(Turandot, ROH; Don Giovanni, Garsington Opera); Samling Artist and Bicentenary Scholar at Royal
Academy Opera Liam Bonthrone will perform the role of Count Almaviva; Michel de Souza (Tosca
and Carmen, ROH) returns to NHO as Figaro after a much-praised debut as Germont in 2021’s La
traviata; Icelandic bass-baritone Andri Björn Róbertsson (Le Nozze di Figaro, Icelandic Opera; Lessons
in Love and Violence, ROH and Opera National de Lyon) is Basilio; Berta will be performed by Janis
Kelly (Falstaff, Grange Park Opera; The Marriage of Figaro, ROH); and former NHO Young Artist
Malachy Frame completes the cast as Fiorello.
The NHO 2022 Summer Festival will see a wide variety of music concerts and performances in NHO’s
award-winning theatre throughout June and July. The Swingles, one of the world’s most admired
vocal groups will perform on 10th June. Pianist and vocalist Sam Jewison is joined by his all star band
on 24th June for an evening celebrating the classic jazz of The Great American Songbook, including a
performance of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. On 5th July, South African cellist and rapidly
rising star Abel Selaocoe will perform Sirocco with the Manchester Collective, combining virtuosic
performance with improvisation, singing and body percussion.
Renowned for her solo performance at the prestigious Last Night of the Proms in 2018, TV and radio
presenter and saxophonist Jess Gillam will be joined by the string sections of Manchester Camerata
for a programme including Glazunov’s Concerto, Op. 109 on 6th July. Thick & Tight will present Short
& Sweet (★ ★ ★ ★ – The Times; ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – The Stage) on 7th July, an amuse-bouche platter of
works that will excite and delight in a modern variety show of dance, drag, lip-syncing and satire. On
8th July Scotland’s leading Baroque ensemble, Dunedin Consort, will perform Handel’s Acis and
Galatea (utterly magical – Gramophone) on period instruments, led by John Butt OBE, with singers
Nicholas Mulroy, Rachel Redmond, Christopher Purves, Anthony Gregory and Nicholas Scott. On 9th
July, Manchester Camerata will bring Charlie Chaplin’s comedy drama film and emotive score of The
Kid (1921) to life.
Nicholas Chalmers, the Artistic Director of NHO, says, Our 2022 season continues to strengthen our
core NHO values. 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, is
combined with performances from fantastic, well-established singers such as Janis Kelly and
outstanding singers towards the start of their careers. We believe in supporting talented singers at
every stage in their development – from taking part in our primary and secondary school workshops
or our Foundation Artist programme for school-leavers, right through to joining us as Emerging or
Associate Artists for our full season. 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.
Annie Lydford, Managing Director of NHO, comments, 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
NHO is an independent charity and festival run by its board, Artistic Director, Nicholas Chalmers, and
Managing Director, Annie Lydford. Since it began in 2013, NHO has been committed to both working
with young people and communities across the Midlands and to training and casting up-and-coming
UK opera singers at the start of their careers, while bringing high-quality opera and music to
Leicestershire. More than 60% 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 5%
through an annual grant from the David Ross Foundation. NHO received vital support in 2021 from
the Cultural Recovery Fund and from the Garfield Weston Foundation, both of which played a crucial
role in the organisation’s ability to mount a summer festival in 2021.