Nevill Holt Festival 2024 will open with a new production of Mozart’s iconic opera The Magic Flute featuring The Britten Sinfonia, directed and designed by Melly Still and conducted by Finnegan Downie Dear

Our classical concert series will include performances from Alexis Ffrench, Imogen Cooper and Sarah Connolly, Jeneba Kanneh-Mason, Benjamin Grosvenor and Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy. Orchestral concerts include Max Richter’s Four Seasons and new work from Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, Sergey Akhunov, Isabella Gellis and Shadwell Opera. Jazz and contemporary music sees Jalen Ngonda, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra, Lianne Carroll, Jessica Walker and Joe Atkins, Cécile McLorin Salvant and Dan Tepfer.

Additional musical performances include Mary Bevan, Nicky Spence and Joseph Middleton creating A Most Marvellous Party, Michael Morpurgo reading War Horse with musical accompaniment from Ben Murray and Anton Lesser reading Wolf Hall with music by Debbie Wiseman.

Our visual arts programme includes centenary exhibitions of Modern British master Anthony Caro and Pop Art pioneer Eduardo Paolozzi. A celebration of British Pop artist Pauline Boty’s work will include the world premiere screening of new film, BOTY, as well as talks from leading figrues in the art world including Louisa Buck, Sue Tate, Simon Martin, and Daniel Hermann. Meanwhile, audiences can hear from artists in a series of intimate conversations with Allen Jones, Ben Edge, Natalie Gibson, David Yarrow, Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Nic Fiddian-Green and Andy Goldsworthy in conversation with Andrew Marr. 

Our conversation strand includes appearances from Alice Roberts, Emma Dabiri, Jenny Kleeman, Anthony Quinn, Mary Wellesley, Amy Trew, Audrey Osler, Love Ssega and Kassia St. Clair; live editions of podcasts such as Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail; Richard Coles, Cat Jarman & Charles Spencer’s Rabbit Hole Detectives, Jonathan Agnew’s An Audience with Aggers and Rachel Johnson’s’ Difficult Women featuring Plum Sykes. There’s also comedy from Jason Byrne, Mark Watson, Austentatious, Bounder & Cad and many more! 

We will champion hundreds of emerging artists and over 1,500 primary schoolchildren will create 50-minute versions of Humperdinck’sHansel and Gretel in partnership with DRET Music and the Royal Opera House. Performed across the region, 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.


“For three weeks next June, Nevill Holt will be alive with music, performance, conversation and celebration. The very best of the 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.”

James Dacre, Festival Director for Nevill Holt Festival 2024

Nevill Holt Festival 2024 opens with Mozart’s most magical opera, directed and designed by Melly Still (Coram Boy, National Theatre, Tony and Olivier Award nominee; Rusalka and The Wreckers, Glyndebourne)

An enchanting fairy-tale quest for love, The Magic Flute promises an evening of magic, mystique and romance, set to some of the most sublime music ever written by Mozart, conducted by rising star Finnegan Downie Dear (First Prize at the International Mahler Competition) following his acclaimed Don Giovanni at Nevill Holt in 2021.

A feast for the senses and perfect for opera lovers of all ages, Nevill Holt Festival’s new production will see a cast of the UK’s most talented young opera singers take to our stage. It will be created in partnership with the award-winning Britten Sinfonia, which The Guardian recently described as “one of our most innovative and vital ensembles”. 

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.

Finnegan Downie Dear