The Nevill Holt Opera Festival continues to impress

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The opening night of the Nevill Holt Opera Festival 2016 saw an inspiring performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto…

Last night guests gathered in the beautiful surroundings of Nevill Holt to mark the opening night of the Nevill Holt Opera Festival 2016. This event is a popular occasion for ardent opera supporters but it also welcomes newcomers to the scene and provides a wonderful evening of entertainment.

The Nevill Holt Opera has become one of the highlights in our British Summer Season Social Guide in recent years and it is well worth visiting Leicestershire to experience the soiree. The event is highly sophisticated and quintessentially English. This year the festival runs over a record number of days.

The British weather was kind on the opening evening despite some recent rainfall. As soon as guests began to arrive to enjoy Pommery champagne and canapés on the lawn, the clouds parted to make way for warm beams of sunshine.

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Guests enjoy Pommery champagne and canapes before the performance begins at the Nevill Holt Opera

The gardens at Nevill Holt are open to the public for several hours before each performance, which gives guests the opportunity to admire the stunning sculpture collection that belongs to the host David Ross.

The late afternoon sun complemented the beautiful floral displays and it bounced off the striking pieces of artwork, which were positioned on the perfectly manicured grounds. The enormous bronze shell by Marc Quinn was much admired and acted as the centrepiece of the main lawn.

Andy Bretherick is the new head gardener at Nevill Holt and he has spent much of the year familiarising himself with the grounds and preparing for the summer season. Needless to say, the gardens looked exceptional and the boarders in the Italian Garden have been enhanced with an impressive collection of Roses and Peonies.

Nevill Holt Opera

The stunning view from outside the theatre at the Nevill Holt Opera

The spectacular view from the front of the opera theatre was framed with beautiful shrubs and made even more dramatic thanks to the gathering rain clouds in the distance. Thankfully, these remained many miles away!

The pre-performance social element that is provided at this festival is appealing for many but the leading attraction is of course the opera itself. Verdi’s Rigoletto was expertly performed on the opening night. It was sung in Italian and the cast put on an impressive show while guiding the audience through this tale that combines love, revenge and sacrifice.

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Guests make their way towards the theatre at the Nevill Holt Opera 2016

The second half was particularly inspiring from a technical and production perspective. The use of split level staging in the historic theatre was beneficial for the vocal interplay and it helped to create a strikingly harmonious picture during some of the more complex scenes.

During the interval guests were invited back to the garden to dine in the grounds. The catering is organised by Stones Events and they presented two seated options this year in the main marquee, with a formal meal or picnic provided. Some of those attending chose to book their own private veranda area.

Nevill Holt Opera

The Nevill Holt Opera Festival runs for many more days this year

Thanks to the extended dates in 2016 there is also a fun and uplifting production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love to come. There is still some final availability for Thursday the 30th of June and Saturday the 2nd of July. You can call the Box Office on 0115 846 7777 to book a place.

Find out more about the Nevill Holt Opera Festival at

Plan your summer with our guide to the British Summer Social Season