Nevill Holt Opera Market Harborough, United Kingdom

WINNER of the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize People's Vote!

Nevill Holt Opera

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Opening night, June 2018, The Marriage of Figaro ©Gary Summers

Winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize People’s Vote, Nevill Holt Opera was one of the shortlisted projects for the 2019 RIBA Stirling Prize.

Please see here for the RIBA Judges’ citation and more info.

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The current owner of this 13th-17th-century estate in Leicestershire has renovated the house and populated the beautifully restored gardens with a renowned collection of contemporary British sculpture. From 2005, a two-week summer season of opera has been performed annually in the grounds. Later, a provisional tented structure was constructed annually within the shell of the estate’s Grade II listed stable block.

In 2016, the decision was made to replace the tent with a permanent opera house in yard of the stable block. This new opera house would seat 400 and include an orchestra pit for up to 50 musicians. This new house would allow the Nevill Holt Opera company to continue nurturing the finest young and emerging opera talent in the UK, and afford the hosting of community and charity events throughout the year. Sound Space Vision, in collaboration with architects Witherford Watson Mann, had an overarching consulting role on the project designing acoustics, technical systems, and theatre planning.

With respect for the heritage, natural materials and colour palette of the stable block, the WWM design complements the existing stonework with bespoke sustainable timber elements to shape the acoustic of the new opera house. Nevill Holt Opera’s commitment to the casting of talented early-career singers and giving them the essential opportunity to take on solo main stage roles, informed the brief. Therefore the acoustics and performance infrastructure supports a wide repertoire and both engages and enhances the voices of these young artists. The atmosphere of the space and place is complemented by the sustainability of both materials and operations, with outgoing ventilation air passing through openings in the wall that have been carefully sized and attenuated for maximum support of the music, and resistance to noise intrusion.

England’s newest and perhaps most uniquely intimate opera house in the country opened in June 2018.

Nevill Holt Opera – 04

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This year, it won three Royal Institute of British Architects awards and it’s easy to see – and hear – why. Seating is comfortable, sightlines clear and the acoustics are superb, every scintillating note from the relatively large pit fired into the auditorium with pinpoint accuracy.

Mark Pullinger

Bachtrack

Nevill Holt – 02

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An indisputable triumph…With its warm acoustics and state-of the-art technical equipment and backstage facilities, this can truly be called a home for music.

Rupert Christiansen

The Telegraph

Nevill Holt – 03

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This gem of a little theatre where young voices and instruments can be heard in perfect balance.

Hugh Canning

The Sunday Times

Nevill Holt – 01

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Our great selling point is intimacy, with our audiences close to the performers. I never want to lose that.

Nicholas Chalmers

The Stage

Nevill Holt Opera – 05

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A cast of young voices…sits easily on top of this shimmering pillow of sound and the warm, intimate acoustic of Nevill Holt’s lovely new opera house also does its bit.

Alexandra Coghlan

The Arts Desk

Nevill Holt Opera – 06

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Already this year the house, designed by RIBA Stirling Prize winning architects Witherford Watson Mann in conjunction with theatre designers Sound Space Vision, has won three RIBA East Midlands Awards.

Sam Smith

MusicOMH

Nevill Holt Opera – 07

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Nevill Holt Opera is a moody, glowing, pitch-perfect project, both in its acoustics and the sensitivity of its conversion.

Rob Wilson

Architects' Journal, September 30, 2019

Nevill Holt Opera – 08

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At the front, stalls seats sink glissando past the stave of the perimeter ground floor to connect not only with the stage but also the sunken orchestra pit below it. All is visible in this inclusive arrangement; and as with the sight lines, with the help of consultant Sound Space and Vision, so too the sound.

Jan-Carlos Kucharek

RIBA Journal, September 23, 2019

Nevill Holt Opera House interior stalls
Opening night, June 2018, The Marriage of Figaro - from the back of the stalls. ©Gary Summers
Nevill Holt Opera House interior, The Marriage of Figaro on stage, 2018
Opening night, June 2018, The Marriage of Figaro ©Gary Summers
Nevill Holt Opera House interior stalls
Opening night, June 2018, The Marriage of Figaro ©Gary Summers
Nevill Holt Opera House seats
Nevill Holt Opera House seats ©Gary Summers
Nevill Holt Opera House balcony
Nevill Holt Opera House balcony ©Gary Summers
Nevill Holt Opera House balcony front
Nevill Holt Opera House balcony front ©Gary Summers
Nevill Holt Opera House balcony sides
Nevill Holt Opera House balcony sides ©Gary Summers
Nevill Holt Opera House roof light
Nevill Holt Opera House roof light ©Gary Summers
Nevill Holt Opera House The Marriage of Figaro, 2018
The Marriage of Figaro, June 2018 ©Robert Workman
Nevill Holt Opera House The Marriage of Figaro, 2018
The Marriage of Figaro, June 2018 ©Robert Workman
Nevill Holt Opera House, Powder her Face house curtain, 2018
Show curtain for Powder Her Face, June 2018 ©SSV
Nevill Holt Opera: Jim Stephenson for Architects' Journal
Nevill Holt Opera: Jim Stephenson for Architects' Journal
Nevill Holt Opera: Jim Stephenson for Architects' Journal
Nevill Holt Opera: Jim Stephenson for Architects' Journal
Nevill Holt Opera House interior sightlines plan
SSV Sightline drawing of stalls
Nevill Holt Opera House balcony sightlines plan
SSV Sightline drawing of balcony
Nevill Holt Opera House technical equipment
SSV Technical equipment drawing
Nevill Holt Opera House balcony sightlines study
SSV sightline study from balcony
Nevill Holt Estate
Nevill Holt estate - Stable block on the right
Nevill Holt Opera under construction
Looking through one doorway and out the other; ground-breaking in the stable yard
Nevill Holt Opera House architect's model
NHO model by WWM Architects
Nevill Holt Opera House architect's model
NHO model by WWM Architects
Nevill Holt Opera invisible inside the stable block: Jim Stephenson for Architects' Journal
Nevill Holt Opera fitted inside the stable block: Jim Stephenson for Architects' Journal
View of tent within the stable yard, prior to the building of the Nevill Holt Opera house
2019's Midsummer Night's Dream with open back door @Ali Wright