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Newham Hospital’s ‘Doctor Opera’ records charity single with Barts Choir after serenade to NHS colleagues goes viral

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 19:31 18 May 2020

Dr Alex Aldred has recorded a charity single with Barts Choir. Picture: Alex Aldred

Dr Alex Aldred has recorded a charity single with Barts Choir. Picture: Alex Aldred

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An opera singing doctor whose serenade to hospital colleagues went viral has recorded a single to raise money for the NHS.

Dr Alex Aldred, who works at Newham Hospital, teamed up with Barts Choir to record Panis Angelicus or Bread of Angels in aid of Barts Charity and The Migraine Trust.

Alex, who trained at the Royal Academy of Music, said: “It’s a beautiful song which offers a message of hope which is what people need at this moment. I’m really proud of it.”

Since capturing audiences online, the 30-year-old – who is also known as Doctor Opera – has appeared on TV in the US, and been interviewed for South Korean radio and a book in Chile.

And for the time being the musical medic has traded touring opera houses for hospitals with impromptu performances in demand at the Royal London, Newham and beyond.

The idea to collaborate came when Alex was contacted by Barts Choir, which has about 300 regular members, after they spotted him online.

It took two weeks to put the recording together with everyone performing separately. Musical director Ivor Settlefield conducted before pianist Chris Lee recorded his piano section.

Alex’s solo and the choir members then performed their parts with a pre-recorded metronome pulse helping them keep in time with each other.

“It was completely weird. A lot of musicians are having to record remotely at the moment because it’s the only way to play together.

“It’s creating new possibilities to make beautiful music. Music bringing us together in these times is so important,” Alex said.

The recording of the piece by César Franck was released on Wednesday, May 13 raising £1,000 within hours. And Alex is hoping that if the reactions of his colleagues at Barts Health NHS Trust are anything to go by the single will be a hit, raising thousands for good causes.

“People really like it. It’s a bit of light relief. It relaxes them, makes them feel happy and helps them forget just for a few minutes. It feels very special to be able to do that,” Alex said.

He said hospital staff are “cautiously optimistic” after having passed the peak, but remain apprehensive about what will happen next as lockdown restrictions are eased. To donate visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BartsChoir


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