Spa days are my time to relax
Best for beauty
See Tosca at NHO’s summer festival
Rosenna East “Music is power!” says Rosenna East, General Manager at Nevill Holt Opera. I was brought up in a leafy suburb of London. We had a neighbour who was very enthusiastic about a music system called the ‘Suzuki’ method. It’s a Japanese philosophy that believes music is a universal language that can be taught to young children. So I got started on my tiny violin at 3 years old! I developed self-discipline, focus, strong memory and aural skills, and was playing concerts with my friends by the age of 4. Not long after that we were touring internationally as a small group. I can’t describe how much fun we had. As a teenager I didn’t want to be ‘professional’ and opted instead to do a History degree at Oxford. But after my studies I couldn’t bear the idea of giving up the violin to get a ‘proper job’, so I took a Masters at the Royal College of Music in London, and fell in love with the idea of playing in a Chamber Orchestra. Playing in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra was my perfect job. I spent 9 years living in Edinburgh and getting to know Scotland. Highlights included partnerships with conductors Sir Charles Mackerras and Robin Ticciati, and the recordings we made of the late Mozart symphonies will be something that I will be proud of my whole life. Performing with the SCO was truly exhilarating.
While still in the SCO, in 2013 I became Chair of the Board of a small opera company in Scotland called NOISE, commissioning and producing new operas. We won an Arts and Business Award for Entrepreneurship. In 2014 I heard about the GM job at Nevill Holt and I thought it sounded exciting! I was ready for a big change in my life, so I took the leap. My role includes organising and managing an opera festival at the beautiful Nevill Holt each summer. This year we are staging Puccini’s Tosca from 15 – 22 June, which will be fabulous. We’re also passionate about developing young singers, as well as contributing to the musical life of the community around us; so I am very proud that we’ll be staging our first children’s community opera – Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, on 1 & 2 July. It’ll be performed outdoors in the gorgeous gardens of Nevill Holt and will feature 130 local school children. I’ve been involved in music education my whole life! Music is power, it changes the way people feel. And if it can change the way people feel, it can change lives. If it can change lives, it can change whole communities. I’ve taught in specialised high-end music schools and schools where you’re lucky if they’ve got an egg-
No7 for every day, MAC for wild & wonderful. Most extravagant purchase
A 1920s French violin bow made by Eugene Sartory. On my nightstand
Leader-smithing by Eve Poole. Inspirational & practical. Favourite piece of all time
Mozart’s Prague Symphony. Top of your bucket list
To build a theatre…and I’m doing it! Guilty pleasure
Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. Advice to young self
Sock it to them!
shaker in the cupboard. I’ve put operas into prisons, pubs and village halls and I’ve taken my violin into post-conflict communities in Bosnia, Croatia, Sri Lanka and Palestine. For me the purpose of music is to connect people. What I enjoy most about being GM at Nevill Holt is interacting with a huge range of people, and creating moments for them to truly experience music. I hope I am a positive ambassador for our festival, and for the importance of live music in communities. I’m planning a good rest after this summer’s festival, before focussing on next year’s programme and the completion of our new theatre. We look forward to opening it to wild success in June 2018! Details on how to book tickets for Tosca and Noye’s Fludde are available at www.nevillholtopera.co.uk/booking/
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