ENO Breathe, a new initiative from the English National Opera (ENO) designed to help people recovering from Covid-19, has been recognised with an inaugural American Academy of Teachers of Singing (AATS) Award for Covid-19 Response.

ENO Breathe is a breathing and wellbeing programme developed specifically for people recovering from long Covid-19, who are still suffering from breathlessness and associated anxiety. The aim of the programme is to empower and equip patients with the tools they need for self-management with their recovery.

It is a social-prescribing, non-clinical intervention that uses singing techniques to aid recovery from coronavirus. Delivered by the ENO in collaboration with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust entirely online, the programme focuses on breathing retraining through singing. No prior singing experience is required in order to take part in the training.

The AATS awards were created to recognise, honour and nurture outstanding accomplishments in the teaching of singing and in allied professions. This award has been bestowed on ENO Breathe and the team behind the initiative “for creating innovative and compassionate effort between the arts and medicine to help relieve the suffering of individuals experiencing long-term post-Covid respiratory and anxiety problems,” the organisers said in a statement.

“The ENO Breathe programme has reinforced the intrinsic place that the arts offer to healing and wellbeing. Its collaborative structure is at the point of being able to be shared internationally and addresses the less recognised issues of individuals who have long-term suffering, both physical and psychological, due to Covid.”

The award particularly recognises the work of Jenny Mollica, director of English National Opera Baylis, Sarah Elkins, respiratory consultant and director of integrated care at Imperial NHS Trust and lead doctor on the programme, and Suzi Zumpe, creative director of ENO Breathe.

Academy member Margaret Baroody commented: ‘This extraordinary effort by the English National Opera in conjunction with the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust deserves recognition because of the creative and compassionate development of a programme utilising the collaboration of arts and medicine to the relief of human suffering.

“This exceptional programme, which, because of a successful trial, is being expanded and offered for free to those referred by a physician, was developed in a time of societal crisis and upheaval affecting the physical and economic health of a nation as well as the world. This effort represents the ability of the human spirit to meet and overcome the worst of challenges and demonstrates the potential power of the arts in the physical and emotional healing of disease.”

The programme is ongoing and anyone who has had Covid-19 and is still suffering from breathlessness and its associated anxiety and symptoms can apply. Patients should get in touch with their local specialist long Covid clinic to be referred onto the programme. See ENO’s Who is the programme for? webpage for a list of participating clinics.

Healthcare professionals who want to refer patients should contact ENO directly at info.breathe@eno.org.

Two further awards were bestowed. Ian Howells and his team at the voice faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music won for their work with technologies to provide solutions to the challenges of making and teaching music during the pandemic, permitting widespread applications that have allowed successful teaching and performing in remote settings.

Also recognised were researchers behind the International Coalition Performing Arts Aerosol Study, which provided essential information on aerosol transmission in the spread of Covid-19 and the specific risks of singing and playing instruments, along with suggested mitigation measures and safety protocols, including masking, social distancing, room ventilation and so on.



The ENO Breathe programme for those recovering from Covid-19 has been recognised with an inaugural American Academy of Teachers of Singing Award for Covid-19 Response.