In the U.K., opera singers help COVID patients with breathing issues

Posted on: February 19, 2021

“On a recent afternoon, the singing coach Suzi Zumpe was running through a warm-up with a student” named Wayne Cameron, writes Andrew Dickson in Tuesday’s (2/16) New York Times. “Zumpe usually leads [classes] at the Royal Academy of Music, or Garsington Opera, where she trains young singers. But Cameron, 56, isn’t a singer…. The session had been prescribed by doctors as part of his recovery plan after a pummeling experience with Covid-19 last March. Called E.N.O. Breathe and developed by the English National Opera in collaboration with a London hospital, the six-week program offers patients customized vocal lessons: clinically proven recovery exercises, but reworked by professional singing tutors and delivered online.… Last September … it started trialing the medical program [after] ‘long Covid’ cases started emerging: people who … still suffer effects including chest pain, fatigue, brain fog and breathlessness. ‘Opera is rooted in breath,” said Jenny Mollica, who runs the English National Opera’s outreach work. ‘That’s our expertise, I thought.’ … She contacted Dr. Sarah Elkin, a respiratory specialist at … Imperial College N.H.S. Trust…. Twelve patients were initially recruited…. ‘The program really does help,’ Cameron said. ‘Physically, mentally, in terms of anxiety.’ ”