Star mezzo Joyce DiDonato joins London school children for powerful environmental message, through music

22 April 2022, 15:10 | Updated: 22 April 2022, 16:59

Joyce DiDonato and Bishop Ramsey CE School, London
Joyce DiDonato and Bishop Ramsey CE School, London. Picture: Warner Classics

By Kyle Macdonald

The world-famous opera singer releases a new single, with a new generation asking the question: ‘What if trees could sing?’

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For Joyce DiDonato, music is always linked to the big questions and challenges of our time. Her projects over recent years have focused on prison reform, the plight of refugees, the need for music education for all, and our times of war and peace.

Now, she turns to the natural world, and our future with it, working with school children to find the musical message for our time and theirs.

Read more: Who is Joyce DiDonato? Get to know the American operatic mezzo-soprano

School children from Bishop Ramsey CE School, London were invited to write a piece themselves, with the help of the opera star, their teacher, and the natural world around them.

To create the song, the mezzo invited the children to explore nature around their school, plant bulbs, and seeds, and asked them to think about the question, ‘what if trees could sing?’.

Keeping that question in mind, the young musicians then went away to create lyrics, melodies and musical ideas. These were then assembled and pieced together by teacher, Mike Roberts, and Seeds of Hope sprang forth.

It's a powerful, moving piece. Watch Joyce and the children of Bishop Ramsey CE School perform it below.

‘Seeds of Hope’ from Joyce DiDonato's Eden project

Star mezzo Joyce DiDonato is joined by school children from Bishop Ramsey CE School in London, with a song composed by the students called ‘Seeds of Hope’...

Posted by Classic FM on Friday, April 22, 2022

The new work is a major part of DiDonato's EDEN project, which includes a recording on Warner Classics’ Erato label and a 45-venue tour across five continents.

She says, “Part of EDEN’s mission is to challenge everyone who encounters it to stop and observe the beauty that is present all around them. Sometimes it requires a shift of focus, and sometimes it comes from an inspiring infusion of art and beauty created in real-time.”

The sheet music for Seeds of Hope is available on Joyce’s EDEN website. You can also watch a mini-documentary about its creation below.

EDEN: Joyce DiDonato visits Bishop Ramsey School – the making of "Seeds of Hope"