GRANGE Park Opera may have fled the nest but the arts live on at the mansion near Alresford.

The Grange Festival held a Christmas party, including cabaret led by renowned counter tenor, Michael Chance, to launch the Grange Festival at Northington from 2017.

The party was held at Rotherfield Park, near Alton, the home of Sir James and Lady Scott.

The Grange Festival is the new company which will produce opera from 2017, following the departure of the existing company.

Guests enjoyed performances by Mr Chance (recently appointed artistic director at the new company) and three rising professional singers – Nia Coleman, William Blake and Alex Otterburn.

Mr Chance and Sir Charles Haddon Cave, chairman of The Grange Festival and also a High Court judge, outlined their vision and plans.

They referred to the exceptional legacy of the current opera festival, one of Hampshire’s premier cultural events, and their determination to build on it.

Alan Titchmarsh, another long-time supporter of opera at Northington Grange, is also joining The Grange Festival board.

Details of a varied programme for the first season in summer 2017 will be announced soon.