When an opera-singing doctor serenaded NHS hospital staff with impassioned ‘Nessun dorma’

5 July 2023, 10:01

Alex Aldren is also an opera student at the Royal Academy of Music.
Alex Aldren is also an opera student at the Royal Academy of Music. Picture: Medic_Russell/Twitter

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

On the 75th anniversary of the NHS, here’s remembering the time one doctor decided to bring the joy of Puccini to fellow staff on the frontline, in April 2020.

‘None shall sleep…’, as Pavarotti famously sings.

In a moment of quiet at this NHS hospital, in April of 2020, an opera-singing medic brought Puccini’s poignant aria to fellow NHS staff on duty amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Royal Academy of Music opera student, Alex Aldren, studied medicine at the University of Birmingham and worked at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. And during an unprecedented time for hospitals across the country, he was one of nearly 20,000 fully qualified staff to return to the NHS frontline.

During a rare few minutes of peace for doctors, nurses and other clinical staff working around the clock, Aldren treated his coworkers to a rousing rendition of the great tenor aria ‘Nessun dorma’ (‘None Shall Sleep’).

Read more: An epic ‘Nessun Dorma’ that leaves a Royal Albert Hall audience in awe

A fellow staff member posted Aldren’s performance to Twitter at the time, saying:

“One of our SHO’s [Senior House Officers] today is Alex who’s also an opera singer, returning to the NHS frontline during the COVID outbreak.

“He’s treating the team to some shows during quieter periods! Bravo!”

Read more: This orchestra’s ‘Ode to Joy’ Skype concert is everything the world needs

An ambulance worker sings Nessun Dorma in a quiet moment

As we mark 75 years of the National Health Service, here’s remembering the extraordinary lengths our NHS workers go to, to keep those around them healthy, and to help and uplift in times of need.