A MAJOR ALRESFORD opera festival is holding an open day in the lead-up to its opening night.

The festival is also offering free tickets to one of the productions.

The Grange Festival at Northington will open its doors on May 7 from 12.30pm in the run-up to its first season.

Last September, the festival announced its arrival with its first ever open day where more than 1,200 people came for talks, guided tours, concerts, local pop-up food and drink stalls and cookery lessons.

Now there is a second chance to see the improvements to the park, house and theatre, as well as hear about the festival in June, which will feature 19 performances of three operas and two concerts.

Guests at the open day will be the first to sit in the new seats in the theatre for a performance of Handel’s Acis and Galatea given by students from the Royal Academy of Music.

Musical animator Peter Gritton will also be in attendance to explain the mysteries of the music in the operas that will be performed at the festival.

Peter has worked with fans at Chelsea Football Club and devised their own symphony of chants.

He can get guests singing opera arias without realising it, and shed light on what opera is really about and why some great tunes stay in our minds.

A number of food and drink stalls will also be in attendance such as Danebury Vineyards, the event’s sponsor, Winchester Distillery’s Twisted Nose Gin Bar, Itchen Valley Brewery, Flat Whites Winchester, Grey Sparrow Kitchen, Little Pub Group Peroni Bar and Jake’s Artisan Foods.

Following the festival, there will be also be a fourth opera by The Grange Festival, Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park, for the bi-centenary of the death of Jane Austen.

To complete the 2017 programme, the festival will launch its first International Singing Competition, with both the semi-final and final open to the public.

The festival opens on June 7 and runs until July 9.

Organisers are running a competition to win four tickets to a performance of Albert Herring with a reserved picnic table in a marquee, and a complimentary bottle of Exton Park English Sparkling Wine.

To enter email events@thegrangefestival.co.uk and answer the question: Who is the Director of Albert Herring at The Grange Festival this summer?