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  • SianLewis


At 3pm, on Wednesday 17th June the first episode of The Soprano, performed by Francesca Lanza, will air on our YouTube channel.

This 10-minute slice of joy, the first of eight that will air every Wednesday and Saturday at 3pm until 11th July, will share the healing power of opera.

Let’s go behind the scenes to meet the team who have made The Soprano possible…


“We knew from day one, minute one, that Francesca is a natural,” says Jane Mote, founder and director of video production company beechtobeach. “She is constantly learning how best to work the sound, camera focus and lighting. But it is tough on her and some days are exhausting.”

The sheer speed of this project’s creation has forced all involved to adapt and acquire new skills. The first mini-mountain to scale involved getting the right recording kit to Francesca, in Italy, during lockdown. Luckily, despite many people in the UK and Italy sourcing similar equipment, Francesca was able to buy what she needed online.



Francesca, who will perform from her flat in Turin, Italy, then learnt via Zoom sessions with Jane and her beechtobeach colleague Connor Whitfield, how to light and film her own work. Jane and Connor adapted their existing smartphone video training techniques to train their first opera singer, working step by step and showing live on their phones how the technology works.

"The hardest issue is sound," explains Jane. "Francesca's high notes are far too powerful for the two types of microphones we use. So, we have to use a third microphone for the arias and mix the audio when we edit."

It’s not just Francesca’s glorious voice that has caused challenges when recording. During one filming session, she was joined by an unexpected, and unwelcome, orchestra – builders working on the roof of her flat.

The Soprano, is an original piece of musical theatre production featuring well-known, and well-loved, arias. “This work celebrates how music can keep us happy, healthy and connected with others and was created especially to reach and support those groups who have been and remain isolated as a result of COVID-19," explains Health:Pitch co-founder Camilla Vickers. “The script, written by the award-winning Dr Helen Eastman, focuses on issues of isolation and lack of connection with friends and family using humour and song to address some of the challenges,”

Humour has also been an essential ingredient for the team involved in bringing The Soprano to life. Despite the very real challenges of creating, rehearsing, performing and recording a virtual musical theatre production, Jane and Connor are spurred on by the knowledge that this project is already bringing cheer during lockdown.

"It is far more intensive than we imagined," says Jane. "But it is one of the most fulfilling jobs I have ever done. And, the added bonus? I am exercising my vocal chords, singing along with Francesca on the warm-up exercises. That makes me feel happier and healthier too."

Maybe Jane's arias will feature in the future out-takes video. "From the first day we started training, we have been capturing some of the funnier moments," Jane explains. "Francesca's humour is a constant that lights up every shooting day. We hope to make some behind-the-scenes content when we have a spare moment. But, first, we have to train up two more singers from the Health:Pitch team and work out how to make duets work…remotely.”

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  • Camilla Vickers


Health:Pitch is delighted to announce that we have been awarded £30,000 from the Arts Council England Emergency Fund. The funding, which is designed to support organisations as they respond to the challenges of COVID-19, will help Health:Pitch find new ways to continue to reach the most isolated with the healing power of music.

Many of you will have enjoyed live Health:Pitch performances and we are working hard to be able to return to these as soon as it is safe. In the meantime, we are working with digital training experts to produce new performances for you to enjoy at home and to pilot other approaches including 

The first project, in collaboration with Celebrating Age Wiltshire, is The Soprano. You can read more about this 8-episode YouTube opera, specially written for us by Dr Helen Eastman in our blog post



With the Arts Council support, we will find ways to perform live again safely, while also extending our digital programme. Watch this space!

#ShareTheJoy

#ArtsCouncilEngland

#CelebratingAgeWitshire

#LetsTalkAboutLoneliness

#HealthandWellbeing

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Updated: Jun 15, 2020



Join us on our Health:Pitch YouTube channel from Wednesday 17th June at 3pm, for a new musical theatre production to support positive mental and physical health and wellbeing.

“The Soprano”, an 8-episode opera written by Dr Helen Eastman and performed by Francesca Lanza, with opera singers and Health:Pitch colleagues Louise Crane and Tom McVeigh, is a digital creation born out of the COVID-19 crisis.


Enjoy free world-class opera free – wherever you are

Francesca, Louise and Tom are internationally-renowned opera singers, who have performed on stages from La Scala to ENO. When their planned tour of UK care homes and community centres was cancelled, they devised a plan to recreate the shared joy of opera - remotely. Now, they will perform from their homes in England and Italy, which means you can enjoy their singing wherever you are.

Music heals, music sparks happiness, music brings joy, music reaches lives and minds that are hard to reach, music brings people together.

“With face-to-face performances now impossible, Francesca and I wanted to find a way to bring the healing power of opera to those whose minds and lives are hard to reach,” explains Health:Pitch co-founder Camilla Vickers. “This opera, The Soprano, has been created to reach and support those groups who have been and remain isolated as a result of COVID-19. The script focuses on how music can keep us happy, healthy and connected with others.”

A digital opera – direct to you

Do you know someone who would enjoy The Soprano? Get in touch with us at hello@healthpitch.org or visit our YouTube channel

The Soprano will air in eight 10-minute videos over four weeks. Be the first to enjoy new episodes of The Soprano at 3pm on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons until July 11th. You can also watch the episodes whenever and wherever you can on our YouTube channel

The Soprano is designed and brought to you digitally with our partners, Celebrating Age Wiltshire and the Wiltshire Music Centre . “We were so disappointed when Health:Pitch’s live shows had to be cancelled,” says Rebecca Seymour, project coordinator for Celebrating Age Wiltshire. “We’re now so glad to support bringing The Soprano to not only all our local audiences, but way beyond the Wiltshire borders online.”

#Sharethejoy

#Letstalkaboutloneliness

#Opera

#DigitalOpera

#DigitalProduction

#PositiveMentalHealth

#PositivePhysicalHealth

#CelebratingAgeWiltshire


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Health Pitch operates as a distinct fund within the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action (CIVA), registered UK charity 1122095.