Reviews

2019 A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Benjamin Britten – Nevill Holt Opera

‘[Nicholas Chalmers] conducts both of this year's [Nevill Holt Opera] offerings - I heard A Midsummer Night's Dream, which he led in robust fashion, drawing lively and affectionate playing from Britten Sinfonia’ The Telegraph

‘A terrific ensemble achievement, and Chalmers’s conducting of the outstanding Britten Sinfonia lent the music a special magic in the warm, woody acoustic’ The Sunday Times

‘Deftly conducted by Nicholas Chalmers, Britten Sinfonia (what a luxury as a pit band) use their slim string numbers to bring translucency and a spare, angular beauty to Britten's score’ The Arts Desk

‘Most of the magic on opening night emanated from this pit. Britten Sinfonia, under Nevill Holt Opera’s artistic director Nicholas Chalmers, teased out every icy sul ponticello and slithering glissando in Britten’s brilliantly orchestrated score. The precision of the woodwind and brass playing was superb, resounding with clarity’ Bachtrack

‘The show can rely on the exceptional musical values maintained by Nevill Holt's artistic director, conductor Nicholas Chalmers, who explores the score with an ear for fine detail as well as, in his overview, luminosity of tone: in the pit Britten Sinfonia is on wonderful form’ The Stage

‘...a reading conducted with scrupulous attention to nocturnal colour by Nicholas Chalmers’ Opera Magazine 

2019 Così fan tutte by Mozart - Nevill Holt Opera

‘Nevill Holt’s artistic director Nicholas Chalmers demonstrated once again his gifts as a Mozartian with a reading that was beautifully paced from start to finish, with an ideal combination of subtlety and vitality, of purpose and poetry, and outstanding playing from the Royal Northern Sinfonia, especially its wind principals’ Opera Magazine

‘Nicholas Chalmers conducts the impressive Royal Northern Sinfonia in the pit, highlighting the detail of Mozart’s score while generating vocal excellence on the stage’ The Stage

Mozart revivals at Covent Garden and Nevill Holt Opera offer outstanding teamwork under the lithe batons of John Eliot Gardiner (Le nozze di Figaro at Covent Garden) and Nicholas Chalmers (Così fan tutteat NHO). Both conductors made the great ensembles the focus of the evening, with transparent textures and exhilarating tempi. The Sunday Times

2018 Le Nozze Di Figaro - Royal Northern Sinfonia

The level of musical accomplishment merits high praise. Chalmers knows that Mozart’s music is as much about visceral energy as it is about delicate grace and he conducts it here with plenty of punch and brio, drawing a lively and polished response from the Northern SinfoniaRupert Christiansen – The Daily Telegraph

What made the performance so special was the musical proceedings expertly overseen by Chalmers conducting the Royal Northern Sinfonia. He is a brisk but natural Mozartian, and his gift for spotting excellent young singers is a huge boon for this and other medium-scale repertoire.’ Hugh Canning – The Sunday Times

The palm of this successful launch has to go to conductor Nicholas Chalmers and the Royal Northern Sinfonia who between them supply an ideal musical underlay, spirited in momentum and refined in textureGeorge Hall – The Stage

 
 
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Powder Her Face - Northern Ireland Opera

‘A mainstay of the company since its inception, Chalmers has been central to defining its musical signature. He delivered here another thoroughly satisfying performance from the Ulster Orchestra, one packed with detail and nuance, skilfully negotiating the variegated demands of Adès’s decidedly quixotic score.’
Opera Magazine

‘Nicholas Chalmers conducts the Ulster Orchestra with exemplary panache and gusto, relishing all the music’s ostentatious intricacies and dazzling special effects.’
***** The Telegraph

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Don Giovanni - Northern Ireland Opera

'The Ulster Orchestra and the conductor Nicholas Chalmers gave us plenty of character and feeling’
The Times ****

'Given Chalmers’s pacy conducting and the lucid textures he draws from the Ulster Orchestra in the pit, Mozart’s score fairly bounces along'
- George Hall
The Guardian ****


'Throughout the evening, Chalmers balanced the Ulster Orchestra well against the singers, his varied tempi and aspects of period performance commendable'
Bachtrack ****

'Musically, this was a finely balanced performance conducted effectively by Nicholas Chalmers with the Ulster Orchestra in excellent form'
The Belfast Telegraph



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Carmen - 2015 (Nevill Holt Opera)

'Carmen, starring Clare Presland and David Butt Philip wowed the audiences in Leicestershire last summer.
Nicholas Chalmers' conducting remains exemplary'
– Opera Now

'The production yielded other pleasures, chief of which was Nicholas Chalmers' surely paced and light-touched conducting: the prelude and entr-actes were lovingly shaped, and the orchestra sparkled throughout'
– Rupert Christiansen,
The Telegraph


'Nicholas Chalmers conducted a lively, pacy account of the music. He is clearly the driving force behind
Nevill Holt Opera'
– Hugh Canning,
Opera

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Salome - 2015 (NI Opera and The Ulster Orchestra)
'Nicholas Chalmers produced a supercharged performance to reach heights of sweeping Straussian sophistication....this was visceral playing, really focused, and conducted with a controlled frenzy propelling it along remorselessly.'
– Robert Thicknesse,
Opera Now

'Conductor Nicholas Chalmers keeps the score at fever pitch: it's superbly played, with bags of detail, by the Ulster Orchestra.'
– Tim Ashley,
The Guardian

'...the vitality of the playing under Nicholas Chalmers' firm baton never faltered.'
- Rupert Christiansen,
The Telegraph

'Musically this is another bold achievement by NI Opera. I hope members of the Northern Ireland Assembly were in the audience: not for the striptease, but to hear the critically endangered Ulster Orchestra play out of their skin under the baton of Nicholas Chalmers.'
– Neil Fisher,
The Times


'Nicholas Chalmers, conducting without a baton, elicited a sharply-etched account of Strauss’s music from the Ulster Orchestra, impressively avoiding bombast.'
- Terry Blain,
Opera Magazine

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The Magic Flute – 2014 (NI Opera and Nevill Holt Opera)
'Initially there was much scoffing at the idea of NI Opera. Cultural life in Northern Ireland is often depressingly contingent, a pathetically introspective prisoner of the province’s misfortunes. Not here: and this is due to the pair running the show, artistic director Oliver Mears and regular conductor Nicholas Chalmers, who along with their design team have put a vividly personal stamp on the shows. They came to the job without any fixed ideas about Northern Ireland or indeed how to run a medium-sozed company.'
- Robert Thicknesse,
The Tablet

'The transfer of Nevill Holt’s staging couldn’t have been more of a success. Nevill Holt’s music director, Nicholas Chalmers, has an ear for fine young singers, and they were out in force here. A Flute far-better-endowed companies would be proud to tour.'
- The Sunday Times

'Nicholas Chalmers conducts with clarity and forward direction, always sympathetic to the singers’ needs. His consistency of stylistic approach across the evening is assisted by the small chorus,weighted towards tenors and basses, and a surprisingly effective 13-piece instrumental ensemble.'
- The Irish Times *****

'The musical performance, under Chalmers' spry and vital baton, set a high standard for future seasons'
- Opera Magazine

'The overture – and much to follow in music director Nicholas Chalmers' safe, expressive hands – gave one endless confidence in the music'
- Opera Now

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La Boheme – 2014 – Nevill Holt Opera
'...David Ross has done the right thing in cannily appointing the grounded and talented young conductor Nicholas Chalmers to oversee artistic and musical matters...the orchestra is nimbly conducted by Chalmers.'
- The Telegraph ****

'The company's artistic director, Nicholas Chalmers, conducts a lively account...it works a treat in an intimate theatre. He's an astute voice-spotter too.'
- The Sunday Times

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'Macbeth – 2014...the real stars were NI Opera's youthful chorus – average age 23 – trained by the company's music director, Nicholas Chalmers, who conducted the Ulster Orchestra with plenty of Verdian verve.'
- The Sunday Times

'Conductor Nicholas Chalmers maintains a steadying hand and good rapport between stage and pit, coaxing lovely textures from the Ulster Orchestra.'
- Irish Times

'The Ulster Orchestra played Verdi's score red-bloodedly under Chalmers...the 40 strong chorus
...trained meticulously by the conductor.'
- Opera Magazine

'Conductor Nicholas Chalmers, with a responsive and enthusiastic Ulster Orchestra, shepherded his forces carefully,
saving his big effects for Verdi's gates-of-hell finales and chorus of suffering exiles.'
- Opera Now

'Nicholas Chalmers conducted the Ulster Orchestra with a light, firm touch.'
- The Telegraph

'Great credit is due to Nicholas Chalmers, who trained the chorus. He also conducts the Ulster Orchestra,
whose lean textures and dark colorations graphically re-create the particular tinta Verdi had in mind
for this grimly cut-throat opera.
- Terry Blain,
Culture Northern Ireland

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'In charge of the Ulster Orchestra and a young, strongly drilled chorus, Nicholas Chalmers conducts with conviction'
- John Allison,
The Sunday Telegraph

'In the pit, Nicholas Chalmers whipped the Ulster Orchestra into a storm'
- Anna Picard,
The Independent on Sunday


'The cellos of the Ulster Orchestra bite through the cold air, and the entire band relishes the cross currents and undercurrents unleashed by the robust baton of Nicholas Chalmers'
- Hilary Finch,
The Times

'Chalmers brings momentum and sweep to his conducting, and the Ulster Orchestra
rattles through the score with impressive skill'
- Hugo Shirley,
The Telegraph

'The singing was accomplished, the orchestra rising to the challenge under the baton of Nicholas Chalmers.
Chalmers and the Ulster Orchestra grew more confident as the performance unfurled. It proved electrifying'
- Fiona Maddocks,
The Observer

‘…in the pit, Nicholas Chalmers conducted a lean, propulsive account of the score, greatly abetted by the incisive, warmly idiomatic playing of the Ulster Orchestra. Chalmers had also trained the chorus, whose contributions were
satisfyingly full-bodied and sonorous. All told, this was a momentous evening for opera in Northern Ireland, and for the young company currently serving it with such distinction.'
- Terry Blain,
Opera Magazine

'Company artistic director Oliver Mears directs alongside the gifted young conductor Nicholas Chalmers.
The Ulster Orchestra is in the pit, giving, under Chalmers' baton, a solidly convincing account of Wagner's potent
early-romantic score, flooding the theatre with its heady emotional charge. The piece sounds superb in the fine acoustic of Frank Matcham's glamorous late-Victorian auditorium.'
- George Hall,
The Stage

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'The band under Nicholas Chalmers sounded electrifying'
- Rupert Christiansen,
The Telegraph

'I have rarely seen this final scene, when the Governess holds the dead boy, more movingly staged, nor heard its music more passionately played than by the 13 instrumentalists who, conducted by Nicholas Chalmers, had worked wonders all evening'
- Michael Kennedy,
Opera Magazine

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'Nicholas Chalmers marshalled his professional and youthful orchestral forces with remarkable discipline'
- Hugh Canning,
The Sunday Times

'Nicholas Chalmers was an unflappable presence, co-ordinating the assembled forces with calm assurance'
- Terry Blain,
Opera Magazine

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'the orchestra showed virile form under Nicholas Chalmers'
- Neil Fisher,
The Times