Dr Olu Taiwo
Senior Lecturer, Department of Performing Arts University of Winchester:
‘The performance called ‘The Audition’, is a truly breathtaking show, where we got access to some of the best operatic singers in the country. The performance provided us with an entertaining yet political look at the reality of work for current operatic singers in the UK. The blend of beautiful voices, sophisticated acting and a subtle choreography that involved the audience and implicated us in the audition, makes the work accessible to performing artist, dramatists as well as people interested in musical theatre. This is an excellent piece of work.’
Director of Health Care & Support, One Housing Group Ltd:
‘This initiative which took place at 6 of our Senior Living schemes in partnership with Healthpitch was a resounding success. A number of our customers had never had the chance to experience opera first hand and really enjoyed the opportunity to do so. The performances were of such a high standard and the focus on customer participation made it feel a really inclusive event. The story line the singers performed helped with this as it was engaging and easy to follow. It was incredibly moving and fun at the same time. We are really keen to repeat this again in the future. The impact on staff and customers was extremely positive.’
PhD Student, TAnDem Doctoral Training Centre, University of Worcester:
“I really think that quality is one of the magic ingredients in Six Characters. I was (much to my surprise) in absolute awe of the singers and the beauty of their voices. I think proximity is a factor here – being so close makes it a unique experience compared to seeing a performance in a theatre setting – I think this uniqueness adds to the value. I also imagine that residents recognise this and feel valued and privileged to have been afforded such an experience.”
Artistic Director of Celebrate Voice:
‘Health pitch have become expert in creating new works of music theatre of the highest quality, that succeed in connecting with older people in an imaginative, intelligent and sensitive way. The performers are superb, with their ability to communicate, and captivate through beautiful singing. They touch the souls of their audience, and invite them in to their story. And the audience are spellbound, as they journey and empathise with the performers. They sing, they laugh, they cry, and that is what good art is all about – connecting with people, allowing them to feel, to express, and to witness beauty. And that this is done through the voice means the human connection is profound, the response is immediate and the impact is lasting.’
Director of Integration in Care and Trustee of NAPA:
‘It is rare for live music of such high calibre to be brought into care settings despite high-level research showing that there is a huge need for such initiatives… It should be much more than bingo or one-size-fits-all activities, and hoping that volunteers come in and do something, which might not be very good,’ she says. ‘It’s always well intentioned but often activities can be very patronising.’
Activity Coordinator at Longbridge Deverill Nursing Home and specialised Dementia Unit:
‘Specially designed for care settings, our performance was called ‘6 characters in the search of an opera’, with a cast of professional singers and musicians from all around the world! It was an interactive, hilarious and heart-warming show that had us all enraptured for the entirety. This style of performance was refreshingly different from other shows that are generally on offer to care homes, and maybe not something we would have ordinarily booked but it was enjoyed so much by all our residents and staff alike! Our residents seemed to understand the story and the performance kept their interest (which is a difficult thing to do). We were particularly surprised by some of our residents reactions to the music, ranging from people who have poor communication skills becoming engaged, to people who knew the words and sang along wherever possible!
This was a performance filled with compassion, laughter and a meaningful message – ‘music soothes the soul’ a phrase we fully believe to be true.’
Social Engagement Leader, Rashwood, Worcestershire:
“I cannot (although I’m going to try) put into words the effect you all had on us last week. We are still having regular conversations about the afternoon. Everyone smiles and sighs when they talk about you all. The build up to the afternoon was very exciting. We love some “real” music here and there was a definite buzz of anticipation going round the home. To have so many of our residents come just shows how much they were looking forward to it. A few of the residents who came can’t be sat out in a wheelchair for long for health reasons so only come to the activities they really enjoy and I think you had all of them!
One of our ladies who day to day does not have much if any communication skills or even facial expression had the biggest smile on her face whilst you all sang. I couldn’t believe the look of bliss on her face.
It was an emotional moment not just for her but for the staff as we now know that she is aware and can enjoy this type of music. We can build on that for her and hopefully make her life more enjoyable.”
Founder of healthpitch:
‘All arts have a beneficial effect but opera is particularly interactive as it engages participants and embraces all the emotions of life. It encompasses joy and tragedy, love, laughter, warmth and passion and it connects with the human spirit. As a medium which is all about heightened emotion, it can’t fail to lift the senses and transport people out of their everyday world.
This has even greater relevance as sophisticated mapping techniques in brain research have recently confirmed that many thought processes pass through our emotional centres as they take the psychological journey that converts outside information into individual response and action.’
University of Manitona, International Delegate at National Care Forum Conference 2018: Ageing in Common: An International Perspective:
‘The opera was one of the best events I’ve ever seen! Brilliant.’