The Royal Opera House was delighted to host a specially invited audience of NHS workers, teachers, its Songs for Ukraine Chorus, and members of the Royal Ballet School last night to bring together and celebrate the many individuals, groups and schools the Royal Opera House works with up and down the UK to place ballet and opera at the heart of communities. Celebrating the achievements of the audience, including the 75th year milestone for the NHS, was further amplified by the attendance of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla in their first Royal Opera House visit since the Coronation.
Their Majesties, along with the packed auditorium, enjoyed a spectacular performance of Don Quixote by The Royal Ballet, which was broadcast to 1281 cinemas around the world from the Company’s iconic Royal Opera House home in the heart of Covent Garden. At the end of the performance Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, Carlos Acosta, (whose production of Don Quixote was performed), and members of the production – including Royal Ballet Principal dancers Mayara Magri and Matthew Ball – met Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla, who congratulated them on their remarkable work.
Over 600 NHS staff attended the special performance to commemorate 75 years of the NHS as part of the ongoing ROH Thanks the NHS scheme. This initiative, which began in 2020 to thank NHS staff for their work during the pandemic, has seen more than 10,000 NHS workers enjoy heavily discounted tickets for performances.
The ROH Songs for Ukraine Chorus, made up of 130 Ukrainians displaced by war, were invited as part of the Royal Opera House’s continued support of the Ukrainian community. The Chorus, which was established last year, was set up to inspire hope through the collective act of singing. Following the success of their debut performance in Spring, the Songs for Ukraine Chorus will be performing together again in December this year for two spectacular Christmas concerts held in the Bradford Cathedral and the Royal Opera House’s Paul Hamlyn Hall.
Also in attendance were a number of teachers who have been involved in the Royal Opera House’s national Create and Dance, Sing and Design learning programmes. With the aim to build the creative confidence of teachers, these programmes inspire the creativity of young people through introducing ballet and opera into classrooms across the nation.
The incredible talent of young people was also represented by dancers from the Royal Ballet School in attendance, whose remarkable abilities are nurtured just across the road from the theatre, connected by the beautiful Bridge of Aspiration. Young people and students from arts organisations with which Their Majesties are closely affiliated were also invited to enjoy the evening, including the Royal College of Music, the Royal Academy of Dance, Big Kid Foundation, Ballet Black and Fresh Arts.
The Royal Opera House is deeply proud of all its partners and collaborations across the UK and was honoured to celebrate the special-invited audience, on this truly memorable night.
Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said:
‘We were absolutely delighted to celebrate all the many people, organisations and communities we work with across the UK, including NHS workers in its 75th year, and we are deeply honoured to officially welcome King Charles III and Queen Camilla to this very special performance.’