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Royal Opera House: Arias of Hope

Updated: May 17, 2021

ROH: Thank You NHS!

Royal Opera Chorus: Performance for Epsom Hospital Radio

Picture: Elena Maximova in Carmen © 2015 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore

The Royal Opera House will host a suite of Thank You NHS performances, partnerships and events, and a special performance by the Royal Opera Chorus for UK hospital radio to say thank you to the amazing staff of the NHS.

In a first for the ROH, the Royal Opera Chorus has also partnered with more than 30 hospital radio stations around the country, from Cornwall to the Isle of Man, including Epsom Hospital Radio, to share highlights of the opera and song repertory with thousands of patients, doctors and hospital workers.

With almost an hour of specially recorded highlights, including the famous Habanera from Bizet’s Carmen; extracts from Mozart’s La clemenza de Tito, Così fan tutte, and Verdi’s Rigoletto, and favourites from Gilbert and Sullivan, the hospital radio broadcast will explore and celebrate the full spectrum of human emotion from Friday 7 May.

Picture: The Royal Opera Chorus in Nabucco © ROH/Catherine Ashmore, 2013

The Royal Opera Chorus was created in 1946 for the re-opening of the Royal Opera House after World War II. Known then as the Covent Garden Opera Chorus, it first appeared during December the same year in Purcell's The Faery Queene, staged together with Sadler's Wells Ballet (now The Royal Ballet). Its first full-scale opera production was Carmen in January 1947.

Since then the chorus has been the backbone of The Royal Opera, performing in an average of 20 productions each season, in a wide repertory ranging from Baroque through to newly commissioned works. The chorus is frequently augmented by as many as 60 freelance singers when larger productions are mounted.

A Special Performance

Epsom Hospital Radio's involvement with the Royal Opera House: Arias of Hope project was set up by presenter Richard Le Stavri. The station will broadcast the recorded highlights as part of a special edition of The Hub show on Friday 14th May 10am to 12 noon, presented by Baron Armah-Kwantreng.

YouTube video: ROH Unmasked – Final Chorus from The Magic Flute (The Royal Opera)

This special performance of eleven musical pieces for UK hospital radio, by members of the Chorus of the Royal Opera House, features:

William Spaulding - Chorus Master; Piano - Genevieve Ellis.

Chamber Ensemble of the ROH Chorus: Sopranos: Tamsin Coombs, Marianne Cotterill Mezzosopranos: Madeleine Mitchell, Amy Catt, Tenors: John Mulroy, Patrick Ashcroft, Basses: Jonathan Fisher, Olle Zetterström.

1. Opera - Carmen by Georges Bizet; the aria Habañera; Mezzo-soprano - Elizabeth Key; Chamber Ensemble.

2. Opera - La Clemenza di Tito by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Duet - Ah, perdona al primo affetto; Soprano - Elizabeth Weisberg; Mezzo-soprano - Amanda Baldwin.

3. Three Songs by Roger Quilter; Weep you no more sad fountains; Damask Roses; Under the Greenwood Tree; Soprano - Kiera Lyness.

4. Operetta - HMS Pinafore by W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan; Sir Joseph's Barge Is Seen; The Chamber Ensemble.

5. Opera - Rigoletto by Guiseppe Verdi; Quartet: Soprano - Katy Batho; Mezzo-soprano -Elizabeth Key; Tenor - Andrew Macnair; Baritone - John Bernays.

6. Song by Roger Quilter, Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, and Song by Gerald Finzi, As I lay in the early sun; Tenor - Tim Parker-Langston.

7. Song by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Silent Noon; Mezzo-soprano - Cari Searle.

8. Opera by Georges Bizet, The Pearl Fishers; Duet: Au fond du temple saint; Tenor - Luke Price, Baritone - Dawid Kimberg.

9. Traditional Sea Shanty, The Wellerman, A special arrangement by William Spaulding dedicated to the memory of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh; The Chamber Ensemble; Percussion - Simon Archer.

10. Opera - Così fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Trio: Soave sia il vento; Soprano - Katy Batho; Mezzo-soprano - Cari Searle; Bass - John Morrissey.

11. ROH Unmasked - Performed on the rooftop of The Royal Opera House! - Opera - Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi; Anvil Chorus. - Opera - Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi, Va, pensiero; Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves. - Opera - Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Heil sei Euch, Geweihten. The Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House: Conductor - William Spaulding.


You can hear a playlist based on the music performed for Arias of Hope by clicking on the link below. Note - the music performed by the Royal Opera House is exclusively for broadcast on Hospital Radio.

A Calendar of Events

On June 27 the Royal Opera House will present a special performance of Puccini’s opera of passion, friendship and heartbreak: La bohème. One of the best-loved operas worldwide, this beautiful production by Richard Jones will be presented to an auditorium of specially-invited NHS staff, including nurses and healthcare support workers from the Royal Opera House’s nearest hospitals: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and University College Hospital London.

There will also be a special Family Sunday event at the Royal Opera House in September dedicated to NHS workers and their families, with activities including dance, singing and craft workshops and performance, inspired by the repertory of The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera. NHS workers and their families will be invited to explore the iconic Royal Opera House building to go behind the scenes.

In the run up to Christmas, on 4 December, the Royal Opera House will invite NHS workers and their families to see The Royal Ballet’s sumptuous production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker as part of our annual Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat. The surrounding events, activities and pop-up performances promise to make this a truly memorable and magical Christmas experience.

Thank You NHS will continue on March 19 2022 with a performance of The Royal Ballet’s magnificent Swan Lake, a favourite of the ballet repertory and arguably the best-known and most-loved classical ballet.

Tickets for all three performances will be heavily discounted, with thanks to support from The Laidlaw Foundation and the Helen Hamlyn Trust.

The Thank you NHS performance of La bohème has been made possible thanks to generous philanthropic support from the Laidlaw Foundation. The Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat of The Nutcracker is generously supported by the Helen Hamlyn Trust in memory of Paul Hamlyn.


Jillian Barker, Director of Learning and Participation at the Royal Opera House, said:

“After the incredible challenges of the last 12 months, the dedicated and tireless work of NHS staff has been monumental. Their work has helped to save countless lives during this challenging year, and I am delighted that we have the chance to give hundreds of nurses, porters and healthcare support workers from our nearest hospitals, as well as their families, the opportunity to enjoy these wonderful ballet and opera experiences. I am also delighted that the wonderful sound of the Royal Opera Chorus, beamed across Hospital Radio networks up and down the country, will give more people the chance to experience opera in all its glory”.

Lord Laidlaw, Chair of the Laidlaw Foundation, said:

“The thrill of live opera, with its ability to capture the most intense emotions and help us understand each other and life’s biggest themes: love, loss, joy and hope, should be part of everyone’s cultural capital. We are delighted therefore to sponsor this performance of La bohème, as a very big thank you to all the NHS and keyworkers from the Laidlaw Foundation and Royal Opera House.”

Lady Hamlyn, CBE, of the Helen Hamlyn Trust, said:

“How can we ever adequately thank all the wonderful people in the NHS and all the key workers for risking their own lives to protect and care for all of ‘us’. I very much hope that the Paul Hamlyn Christmas Treat will give much pleasure to those able to attend.”


To speak to Epsom Hospital Radio regarding its broadcast of The Royal Opera House: Arias of Hope project, please contact:

Richard Le Stavri, Presenter, Epsom Hospital Radio

Baron Armah-Kwantreng, Presenter, Epsom Hospital Radio


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