As the country emerges from lockdown restrictions, the 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 NHS.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.