Edmund Whitehead & The Royal Opera House

Image: Royal Opera House ©

One industry that has been deeply affected by the Coronavirus pandemic is the art and entertainment sector. Unable to fill large venues as a result of social distancing restrictions, venues have found themselves making difficult decisions to stay in business.

Edmund Whitehead (SH 2006-2011) has been invited to the Royal Opera to conduct HK Grüber's  Frankenstein  on 17th October as part of the first live performance with an indoor audience in the UK since lockdown. However, the performance may not be possible without the support of others.

The opportunity to conduct this performance will not only help the Royal Opera House but will hugely help launch Edmund into the conducting profession. Please read Edmund's appeal below:

'I, Edmund Whitehead (SH 2006-11) am a British-Russian conductor who recently completed the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House. There I was assistant to Sir Antonio Pappano and conducted several performances. I have been invited back to the Royal Opera in October to conduct HK Grüber’s Frankenstein directed by Richard Jones CBE and sung by Allan Clayton, in what will be the first staged opera performance with an indoor audience in the UK since March. It will also be streamed online for a pay-per-view audience.

The Royal Opera House is in financial dire straits having been closed since March, and despite everyone’s enormous efforts, we are still short of the final £2,500 we need to pay the brass and percussion in Gruber’s wonderful orchestration, which includes unusual instruments such as a toy merry-go-round, swanee whistles, car horns, and kazoos. 

As the conductor, I'm putting out an urgent appeal to anyone who might consider supporting this project, which will see the Royal Opera House orchestra able to perform again in its full splendor. The performance will be important for the morale of the opera community, and indeed will be a big moment of revival for theatre in the UK. By supporting our orchestra you would also be supporting me, an OKS who benefitted hugely from the music at King’s, as I make this exciting leap forward in my career despite this year’s events. 

If you’re able to help, my contact details are edmund_whitehead@yahoo.co.uk, +447807905370. Our Director of Opera Oliver Mears would also be delighted to hear from you, and he can be reached at oliver.mears@roh.org.uk'

Please read this appeal from Edmund Whitehead

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