Royal Opera House has announced a suite of performances, partnerships and events, as well as a special performance by the Royal Opera Chorus for hospital radios up and down the UK, to say thank you to the amazing staff of the National Health Service.
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, to share highlights of the opera and song repertory with thousands of patients, doctors and hospital workers from Friday 7 May.
On 27 June a special performance of La bohème 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.
A special Family Sunday event at the Opera House in September will be dedicated to NHS workers and their families, with dance, singing and craft workshops and performance, and NHS workers and their families will be invited to explore backstage.
On 4 December, NHS workers and their families will be invited to The Nutcracker, and Thank You NHS will continue on 19 March 2022 with a performance of Swan Lake.
Tickets for all three performances will be heavily discounted, thanks to support from The Laidlaw Foundation and the Helen Hamlyn Trust.
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.
While Lady Hamlyn 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.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.