Opera and More

Fundación Repsol has teamed up with the ABAO (Bilbao Association of Friends of the Opera) in a programme that brings opera closer to the patients of the Cruces de Barakaldo Hospital.
Activity of the “Opera and More” programme at the paediatrics ward of the Cruces Hospital (Bizkaia)

“Taking opera into a hospital seemed easy to me, as music ultimately implies emotion and emotions abound here at the hospital, making it a completely universal language. Opera in particular is the perfect way to enter into the hospital environment, and this is something we see daily every time we come here”. This is the description given by Aitziber Aretxederia, educational manager of the Opera and More programme carried out by Fundación Repsol and ABAO.

During the first year of the programme, it brought opera to nephrology, pediatrics, and neonatal patients at the Cruces Hospital (Bizkaia), with an activity programme for all ages that has reached 1495 people.

In total, 53 activities have been carried out, combining lectures and sessions at the hospital with a patient visit to the Euskalduna theatre, where they could enjoy live opera and learn about the behind-the-scenes secrets of this genre.

Music classes have been organised for small children in the paediatrics ward, who were able to play different instruments and learn about a few opera librettos. They also have the chance to see any of the operas performed as part of the Abao Txiqui children's programme.

Itziar Villariezo, teacher at the Cruces Hospital children's classroom, underscores “the normalisation [provided by the programme] as, since children cannot leave, it is important for the outside world to come in, and furthermore, from the point of view of the curriculum, it covers musical skills in a way we couldn't have done ourselves”.

Dialysis patients have been offered informative lectures about opera, where they were invited to attend rehearsals of the shows staged at the Euskalduna theatre in Bilbao. “This is a very good initiative as it takes you away from your illness, you get to learn something new, and it's something original, different... and positive”, said one of the dialysis patients who took part in this experience.

Furthermore, the neonatology unit receive a visit from Aitxiber, a professional mezzo-soprano who shared her songs with hospitalised babies and parents.

In the words of Jon López de Heredia, head of Neonatology at the Cruces Hospital, “this project involves singing opera and lullabies to children. At first, I had issues with this project, but as I met the people who were going to take part, I started to see it as the very fruitful activity it has becomeWe try to make it a personalised activity for families that helps them feel a bit more at home”

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