Loneliness among the elderly is a crisis that is only becoming more urgent as Christmas approaches. Earlier this year, the world’s only dedicated opera-ballet company, Constella, launched Connecting Stars to provide free one-to-one virtual performances to isolated care home residents; their upcoming Christmas Gala hopes to raise money to continue their series and meet growing demand.
Their Christmas Gala, filmed in Studio Wayne McGregor, will be presented in two acts with instrumentalists in full costume to propel the gala to new theatrical heights. Act 1 will be framed within the context of Constella’s award-winning and critically acclaimed Sideshows. With introductions from The Ringmaster, their diverse repertoire will include an opera-ballet performance of The Bearded Lady from Sideshows, a highly virtuosic solo accordian performance of Piazzola’s Adios Nonino, music from West Side Story and Habanera from Carmen. Harp and violin duet Olivia Jageurs and Phillipa Mo will perform Heifetz’ Deep River and a beautiful Handel sonata.
Act 2 will see the musicians enter a Christmassy wonderland. A much-loved classic will have enriched meaning in the world premiere of He shall feed His flock like a shepherd from Handel’s Messiah, now choreographed by Jaered Glavin in true opera-ballet style. This will be followed by three excerpts from Nutcracker, finishing with the original treble chorus from Waltz of the Snowflakes.
Since the launch of Connecting Stars, over 50 care homes have taken part with nearly 150 performances reaching over 2,000 residents. Loneliness amongst the elderly has long been a shocking crisis in the UK and it’s only exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic this year. By fundraising through this beautiful gala, Constella hope to be able to reach more care homes in future months, as well as provide care homes with this digital gala free of charge for their residents to enjoy this Christmas.
Constella founder, Leo Geyer said: “We are proud to have redirected our energies to play our part in the battle against the pandemic. It has been our honour to bring joy and happiness to the elderly combating the pressing issues of loneliness and isolation in care homes. Our virtual performances have become an essential and permanent fixture for many care home residents across the country. We hope that you will enjoy our virtual gala and help us to continue Connecting Stars.”
A spokesperson from Burwood Nursing Home commented: Our residents really appreciated the audience participation, the great variety of songs, and the fabulous sense of fun. One resident described your singing as “a burst of sunshine”. After the call we had a great discussion about the songs and the amazing expressions and emotions you had.
Constella’s Connecting Stars Christmas Gala will be available to watch online from 8 December 2020.