Danish Arts Fest

On Friday, 31 August and Saturday, 1 September 2018, Denmark’s first country-house opera festival will be launched at Engestofte Gods, in the Lolland region.

The festival has been designed around a double-bill format that will increase rural access to canonical operatic works while simultaneously expanding the Danish repertoire.

Danish Arts Fest will also promote and celebrate all that the great outdoors has to offer and the benefits of rural living.

We would like to invite you to join us to play a role in developing opera in Denmark.


Denmark is a haven for culture. Arts, music, dance, theatre, fashion. You name it, Denmark offers it all, all year round. However, despite being ranked as the happiest country in the world – prioritising nature and embracing all that the great outdoors has to offer – Denmark has yet to fall under the magical spell of festival opera.

Over a number of years, the festival founders became increasingly aware of this gap in Danish opera and of the potential that the Danish landscape had for being both a home to existing operatic works as well as a harbour for new operas, written in Danish: a place where new music could grow as naturally as the trees surrounding the performance space. By founding a new arts festival at the Engestofte estate, Danish Arts Fest is creating a new stage where opera can be experienced in a setting of unparalleled natural beauty.

2018 will witness the founding of Denmark’s first major summer arts festival, designed to be the country’s own unique take on country-house opera. Danish Arts Fest will pair existing one-act operas with new Danish-language operas, commissioned specifically for premiere at the festival, and invite the best young international artists to bring the works to life.

Danish Arts Fest looks to be a vital force on the Danish and northern European operatic scene and has hit upon a refreshing way of presenting new work alongside neglected gems from the past. I wish the venture every success and am excited by the prospect of contributing in a small way as a board member.

– Andrew Mellor, journalist and critic

Panel 1


Danish Arts Fest will:

  • CREATE Denmark’s first opera festival, built around a double-bill format that simultaneously promotes the operatic canon and acts as a catalyst for the creation of new Danish-language operas

  • PROMOTE the landscape, culture, and community that makes Denmark so unique, embodying Danish spirit in the heart of its productions

  • FURTHER Denmark’s position as a cultural leader, nurturing and promoting the country as an internationally viable creator of innovative opera

  • INCREASE accessibility throughout Denmark to both existing and contemporary opera by taking productions out of the city and into the countryside, to areas that currently have low levels of artistic engagement

  • FUTURE plans include touring the works we create in Engestofte to other rural areas of Denmark

Panel 2


More information about our opening seasons in 2018 and 2019 will be published soon.

From 2019 Danish Arts Fest will partner with Ensemble Stormstøm as its resident orchestra.

Panel 3



Ella Marchment

  • Opera and theatre director who has directed over 80 productions in the UK, Russia, and Europe, at venues including The Mariinsky, Sadler’s Wells, and English National Opera
  • Artistic director of Helios Collective and founder of Theatre N16
  • First director worldwide to receive an Opera Awards Foundation bursary
  • Director of The International Opera Awards in 2017 and 2018


Pernille Lund Olesen

  • Performing-arts producer, dramaturg, and founder of Cabaresque
  • Background in business economics
  • Works within several different genres of performing arts and with companies including Den Jyske Opera and Bora Bora in Aarhus


Sarah Louise Kristiansen

  • Danish choreographer and movement director
  • Founder of Make Dance Happen
  • Produced projects in England, Denmark, and South America
  • Choreographed at numerous venues, including Sadler’s Wells and The Chelsea Flower Show
  • Assisted at The Royal Danish Theatre


Pi Rasmussen

  • Event manager
  • Modern Culture and Cultural Promotion/Communication graduate
  • Editor’s assistant at Forlaget Vandkunsten publishers
  • Cultural promoter and exhibitions assistant at Gl. Holtegaard art gallery
  • Led arts-based community projects in Denmark
  • Events planner in the library sector
  • Assisted at Copenhagen Opera Festival


Beatrice Paterson-Achenbach

  • Opera director working in Bristol and London
  • Director of Iolanthe for London Garden Opera
  • Assistant director The Yellow Wallpaper for Helios Collective
  • Production assistant for Opera Holland Park
  • Assistant on Judith Weir’s The Vanishing Bridegroom for British Youth Opera


Michael Bojesen

  • Director of Malmö Opera
  • Chair of Danish Arts Foundation
  • Former Director of Copenhagen Opera Festival
  • Danish prize for choral composition, winner 1998
  • Conductor, composer, choirmaster, and arranger


Danish Arts Fest

  • Andrew Mellor
  • Mette Esgekov
  • Lise Esgekov
Panel 4


The soil of the Lolland region of Denmark is rich and fertile, and that rich fertility has peppered the land with numerous beautiful mansions and estates, including the majestic Engestofte estate on the shores of the Maribo Lakes.

A former royal estate that dates back to 1457, Engestofte mansion offers both privacy and unparalleled bucolic beauty, unspoilt by other buildings and human activity. The estate is surrounded by remarkable lush flora and fauna, and a walk through the woods brings the promise of seeing beautiful rare orchids and spotting pairs of breeding sea eagles.

The 830-hectare Engestofte estate is now owned by the Egeskov family, and it is run as a centre for forestry, farming, and hunting.

One of Engestofte’s barns has recently been recommissioned and renovated as a 500-seater performance venue, and this fantastic space will be used to present Danish Arts Fest productions, while the estate’s extensive grounds will be brought to life by various performance artists during future festivals.

The Engestofte estate has earned the prestigious protected EUROPARC status.

Panel 5


In order to be able to deliver a sustainable festival and transform opera’s standing in Denmark, it is imperative that we raise money to cover the first year’s productions and the festival’s annual administration costs.

If you would like to become a founding supporter of Danish Arts Fest, we offer a variety of different ways of backing our work, with varying rewards.

This is your opportunity to support a unique cultural programme that has the potential to have a transformative effect on tourism and arts in Denmark.

Please contact Danish Arts Fest using the form below…or catch up with us on TWITTER: @DanishArtsFest.