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29 May 2020, 18:09 | Updated: 29 May 2020, 18:11
Superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma is lifting people’s spirits once again, with a virtual musical accompaniment to one of Roald Dahl’s best-loved stories.
Virtuoso cellist Yo-Yo Ma has just made a surprise appearance on a virtual reading of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel, James and the Giant Peach.
The Grammy-winning musician was one of several familiar faces lending their talents to the YouTube event, James and the Giant Peach, with Taika and Friends, providing entertainment to those self-isolating at home.
In the video (watch above) Ma not only treats us to a beautiful rendition of Massenet’s ‘Meditation’ from Thaïs – to depict the Green Grasshopper in the reading – but also makes his first acting debut in more than 20 years as he narrates an excerpt of the book.
Yo-Yo Ma is joined in the cast by Broadway star Billy Porter, who takes on the role of Earthworm, Tony-winning singer Cynthia Erivo (Miss Ladybird), jazz musician Jamie Cullum (Miss Spider) and Pitch Perfect actor Utkarsh Ambudkar (Centipede).
The virtual reading forms part of a YouTube series recently launched by The Roald Dahl Story Company to help raise money for charities impacted by COVID-19.
All proceeds raised from the stream will be donated to Partners in Health, a medical and social justice organisation fighting the coronavirus and supporting public health systems in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
Watch future readings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at 6pm BST and 1pm ET, and donate, via the YouTube channel, Roald Dahl HQ.