Nevill Holt Festival Announces Full 2024 Programme

The 2024 Nevil Holt Festival is themed around four strands of programming: Opera, Concerts, Conversations and Performances, with Visual Arts exhibitions running alongside each strand. It will take place in June across Nevill Holt’s award-winning theatre, medieval chapel and the beautifully landscaped grounds of the 13th century Nevill Holt Estate, welcoming 150 artists and musicians, premiering six original commissions, engaging more than 2000 young people in creative projects, mentoring 40 emerging musicians, championing 10 emerging singers, and providing reduced-price ticketing opportunities for hundreds of young audience members.

Melly Still’s new production of Mozart’s classic The Magic Flute will open the Festival, conducted by Finnegan Downie Dear. Created in partnership with Britten Sinfonia, the production will champion the most promising singers emerging today.

The Festival announces that the opera and concerts strand will include new work by Isabella Gellis and Shadwell Opera (The Devil’s Den); Benjamin Kwasi Burrell (Solitude); Sergey Akhunov (Passacaglia); Jessica Walker and Joseph Atkins (Barbara) and Nicky Spence, Mary Bevan and Joseph Middleton (A Most Marvellous Party).

They also announce that Alexis Ffrench will join the concert lineup which includes previously announced Max Richter’s Four Seasons performed by Britten Sinfonia; Imogen Cooper & Sarah Connolly; Jeneba Kanneh-Mason; Benjamin Grosvenor and Pavel Kolesnikov & Samson Tsoy.

The Jazz and Contemporary music strand will include Jalen Ngonda, a two-day festival residency from Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra, led by Pete Long and featuring soloist Liane Carroll and the premiere of A French Affair featuring Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dan Tepfer and Britten Sinfonia.

The Visual Arts programme includes centenary exhibitions of Modern British master Anthony Caro and Pop Art pioneer Eduardo Paolozzi, celebrating 100 years since the artists’ birth. A celebration of British Pop Artist Pauline Boty’s work will include the world premiere screening of a new film by Vinny Rawding called BOTY, followed by talks from Louisa Buck, Simon Martin, Sue Tate and Daniel Hermann. Meanwhile, a range of artists will appear including Ben Edge, Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Nic Fiddian-Green, Natalie Gibson, David Yarrow, Allen Jones and Andy Goldsworthy in conversation with Andrew Marr.

The festival’s Literature and History days will include appearances from Michael Morpurgo, Alice Roberts, Emma Dabiri, Jenny Kleeman, Anthony Quinn, Mary Wellesley, Amy Trew, Audrey Osler, Love Ssega and Kassia St. Clair.

Onstage versions of podcasts will include Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail; Richard Coles, Cat Jarman and Charles Spencer’s Rabbit Hole Detectives, Jonathan Agnew’s An Audience with Aggers and Rachel Johnson and Plum Sykes’ Difficult Women and comedy includes Jason Byrne, Austentatious and Mark Watson alongside a lineup of emerging comedians.

Actor Anton Lesser, who played Thomas More in the TV drama Wolf Hall, will read excerpts from Hilary Mantel’s Booker prize-winning novel, with original music by Debbie Wiseman performed by Katherine Rockhill. The Festival will partner with the Josephine Hart Poetry Hour on “The Poet in the Garden”, featuring a cast of distinguished actors.

Over 1,500 primary schoolchildren will create 50-minute versions of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel which will be performed across the region in partnership with the Royal Opera House. One of these productions will play during the festival, accompanied by sopranos Fiona Finsbury and Eleanor Sanderson-Nash, directed by Jonathan Ainscough and conducted by Simon Toyne.