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Comedians to become opera singers in Comic Relief special on BBC One

Jayde Adams, Andi Osho, Caroline Quentin, Jennifer Saunders, Alex Brooker - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron

Five comedians will become opera singers for one night only in a Comic Relief special for BBC One.

Comic Relief's Comic Opera will air as part of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day telethon this Friday, 19 March from 7PM.

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Comic Relief has teamed up with the English National Opera to push five comedians - Jayde Adams, Alex Brooker, Andi Osho, Caroline Quentin and Jennifer Saunders - to their limits in the unique challenge

Getting to grips with this highly skilled classical art form, they’ll have just 24 hours to come together and perform LIVE in front of the entire nation. Thankfully they’ve got the support of a world-famous mentor, soprano Charlotte Church, and ENO’s award-winning Chorus and Orchestra behind them.

Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director, English National Opera, said: "It takes years of training to become an opera singer, to not just be able to hit every note perfectly but also convey every human emotion through the power of your voice.

"The challenge faced by these five comedians is a colossal one - to tackle one of the most beautiful and complex pieces of music ever written, in just 24 hours. With the support of the ENO where we believe opera is for everyone, we have no doubt that Comic Relief's audience are going to be simultaneously moved and impressed by these brave comedians' previously unknown musical talents."

Charlotte Church added: “I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve said to me they’ve never sung because they were told they were no good, that’s not what singing is about, it’s about confidence and feeling free – for me it’s therapy.

"I also love that this is a challenge not a competition – it’s not about who’s got the best voice or is brilliant as a performer – it’s about a group of people coming together, doing something really difficult and creating something unique.”

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The five comedians will perform Nessun Dorma live on BBC One, from 7PM on Friday, 19 March on the Comic Relief 2021 night of TV.

Jennifer Saunders said: “The great thing about the ENO is that they have faith in what they can do and they can make it fun and make sure you don’t embarrass yourself! With this being for Comic Relief, everyone involved knows why we’re doing it and even if it goes wrong, you can make a joke of it!”

Andi Osho added: “It’s such an honour to work with the ENO. I just hope we can deliver for our fab coaches and raise loads of cash for all the incredible Comic Relief causes. If this goes well, all the praise has to go to our fantastic coaches at the ENO. This wouldn’t be possible without them. If it goes wrong however I’m telling everyone Rosanne Barr taught me to sing.”

Caroline Quentin commented: “The idea of singing opera for the first time with performers I don’t know and for the Comic Relief audience is increasingly frightening, thrilling... and dare I say it quite funny!”

Alex Brooker said: "I demand a lot of myself no matter what I do and maybe that comes from proving doctors wrong when I was a kid. I dunno? I’d like to not be completely rubbish and will push myself. But I also think it’s gonna be a lot of fun too!”

Jayde Adams enthused: "I’m beyond thrilled to be given this opportunity by Comic Relief, BBC and The ENO. I hope it helps to raise lots of money and reminds everyone, about how fantastic opera is and how it can lift our spirits like nothing else. What a dream come true.”

The money raised by Red Nose Day will support people in the UK and around the world, and help tackle hunger, homelessness, domestic abuse and mental health stigma.

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For more information and to donate visit bbc.co.uk/rednoseday.

Picture: BBC/Comic Relief 2021/Kieron McCarron

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