The opera-singing doctor who went viral during the pandemic heads to West Sussex for concert

Alexander Aldren – the opera-singing doctor who went viral during the pandemic – heads to West Sussex to offer a special tribute to Mario Lanza. He will be in concert at St James's Church, Mill Lane, Stedham on Saturday, July 30 at 6pm.

Alex Aldren
Alex Aldren

Having given up his medical career before Covid in a bid to make his name in the opera world, Alex resumed his work as a doctor when the pandemic put paid to all opera possibilities. He was shifting on A&E when someone asked him what he would be doing otherwise. He showed them – and the clip went viral. Standing in his scrubs and in a face mask, he sang Nessun Dorma – and promptly found himself on just about every news channel you could name. Now he is fully back in the opera world and looking forward to offering his Lanza tribute in Stedham.

Alex graduated in 2014 and worked as a doctor for two years, but when he realised during his training that he couldn't pursue the cello to the level he wanted, he opted for singing instead thinking – wrongly – it would be less work than the cello. He auditioned for a scholarship with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra chorus: “I had my first lesson and my teacher said I should quit medicine and become an opera singer. I thought that was terrible advice really! I certainly wasn't immediately convinced but it planted a seed in my mind. But when I had my first taste of performing opera, I was absolutely smitten. I started chatting to people who were working as opera singers to get their advice and they said most people don't start an opera career until they were in their early 30s and suggested I should continue with my medical training until then – which made it easier to convince my parents!

“So I was doing a lot of opera alongside my medicine but it was the opera that was the ultimate goal. I graduated in 2014 and wanted to save some money. My first job as a doctor was in north-east London. I worked there for two years and it was pretty full on. It was the first time in quite a few years that I didn't have any time for singing and that was just rubbish. I was depressed. My contemporaries that were doing full time singing were starting to get on really well and that was the point that I applied to the Royal Academy of Music to do their opera school. That was three years and I qualified in 2019 – which was pretty rubbish timing. I was extremely fortunate that when I left, I had a year’s worth of work in my diary which is a rare thing when you're coming out of college, but I only got a couple of months into it and then everything shut down in March 2020 because of the pandemic. I was going to make my debut in the States and had work in France and that all disappeared so I thought I should go back to my medical work. There was a call for people to come back and I started doing some shifts on A&E when all the Covid cases were coming in. And that was when somebody asked me what I would be doing otherwise and I said I worked as an opera singer. I sang – and the thing went viral. It resulted in me getting interviewed on every news channel around the world for a period of a couple of months. When I was not doing shifts I was doing interviews on my laptop!”

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