Nevill Holt Festival Announces Creative Team for Magic Flute

A fortnight before announcing its full 2024 Festival programme, Nevill Holt Festival announces that it will open with a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, directed by TONY and Olivier Award nominee Melly Still, conducted by rising star Finnegan Downie Dear, and featuring Britten Sinfonia, on 1st June.

Melly Still is celebrated internationally as a director, choreographer, designer and adaptor, with her work taking her across the world from the UK to China, Scandinavia to Broadway. She has been nominated as Best Director and for Best Design at both the Olivier and Tony Awards for her National Theatre production of Coram Boy, directed a new production of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves for Theater St Gallen and returned to Glyndebourne in 2022, directing the Festival’s opening production: The Wreckers by Ethel Smythe.

Melly Still said: “I’m thrilled to be collaborating on this new production of the endlessly joyous and puzzling “Die Zauberflöte” at Nevill Holt. Alongside conductor Finnegan Downie Dear, I’m hoping we can make something memorable and stirring in this precious location.”

Finnegan Downie Dear came to international attention in 2020, winning first prize at the Bamberger Symphoniker’s International Mahler Competition. He has since debuted at the Staatsoper Berlin, Camerata Salzburg, Tampere Philharmonic, Adelaide, Baltimore, Bournemouth, Polish National Radio and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestras. Since 2014 he has been Music Director of Shadwell – an East London company that works with exceptional young musicians to champion contemporary British repertoire and experiment with new operatic forms.

Finnegan Downie Dear said: “The Magic Flute stands alone – its mixture of the comic, the tragic and the fantastic, somehow all bound together through the beauty of Mozart’s music, is inexhaustibly fascinating. It is a privilege to be working with Melly Still, Nevill Holt Festival and Britten Sinfonia on this project, and I can think of no more perfect setting than the intimate and enchanting theatre at Nevill Holt to bring a new version of this piece to life.”

Guest Festival Director for 2024, James Dacre, said “Melly Still and Finnegan Downie Dear are two hugely inspiring artists, both currently making a huge impact upon the British opera scene, from their passionate belief in the power of the ensemble to their commitment to championing emerging artists alongside world-class talent. I’m truly excited by the prospect of their epic vision for The Magic Flute coming to life in the intimate confines of Nevill Holt’s beautiful theatre.”

Nevill Holt Festival 2024 will be a multi-arts festival including world-premiere performances, concerts, and conversations alongside opera. A lineup of internationally renowned artists will deliver world class performances alongside the very best emerging talent from 1-26 June in Nevill Holt’s award-winning theatre, medieval chapel and across the beautifully landscaped grounds of the 13th century Nevill Holt Estate, which is home to important works by some of Britain’s most acclaimed contemporary artists. A parallel education programme will see 2,000 young people from across the region participate in creative projects alongside leading professional artists.

James Dacre added: “For three weeks this June, Nevill Holt will be alive with music, performance, conversation and celebration. The very best of the musical, performing and visual arts as well as literature and conversation will all join together in this magical place to present a diverse, entertaining and unique Festival that I hope everyone will be proud of.”

The full Festival programme will be announced on 12 February 2024 when priority booking opens for members, with public booking from 22 February.