Hospital Passion Play

Hospital Passion Play in partnership with Rosetta Life

Garsington Opera has been working with stroke patients and carers in hospitals across Buckinghamshire in partnership with the art rehabilitation charity Rosetta Life on a piece staging recovery and celebrating the love that endures the shock of stroke. This is an extensive, consultant-led project taking place in three phases over two years.

Evidence demonstrates that performance arts projects enable people to find freedom within the confines of the hospital, to find pleasure and joy in movement and theatre games and vocal singing exercises that support the reconstruction of identity after the trauma of a stroke.

This project is of inestimable importance, not only to its participants but in contributing to the science of stroke rehabilitation through music and art. If you would like to know more about this work, including how to support it, please click here for details.

When Covid-19 struck we had just begun Phase 2 of the project, working in Wycombe Hospital and the John Radcliffe in Oxford. We were working towards a piece inspired by Fidelio which would have been performed live at Wormsley in late July. Of course we had to stop work in hospitals instantly. But we have managed to continue this project digitally and in fact have ended up working with more people than would have been possible before, including people isolated or shielding at home. Rosetta Life have brought in participants from Bristol and Reading hospitals, plus groups in London. Garsington Adult Company have had weekly rehearsals on Zoom, as have the Stroke Ambassadors choir, who have also had one-to-one sessions with the choral leaders. They will all be recording their parts at home to a pre-recorded track and the whole piece will be put together as a film in late August (the sessions will continue till July). We look forward to sharing it with you then.

‘We Look to the Think’

Leonore’s aria from Fidelio, which refers to her love for someone she cannot see clearly, has been reworked through the experience and words of a real-life couple, Kim and Sarah. Kim is a stroke survivor and Sarah his wife, and their own experiences of leaving hospital and starting life outside it, their journey together as a couple, their experience of walking together when speech was impossible, and their love story, has been drawn upon for this piece. Finding the voice of the carer in a hospital and patient situation was an important artistic impetus.