Flemish opera singer gives impromptu performance amid coronavirus shutdown

Flemish opera singer gives impromptu performance amid coronavirus shutdown
Amid a nationwide coronavirus shutdown, opera soloist Wilfried Van den Brande treated Antwerp residents to an impromptu performance from his balcony. Credit: Radio 2 Antwerpen/Facebook

Antwerp residents clustered inside their homes amid the coronavirus lockdown were treated to a surprise performance by a world-class Belgian opera singer on Thursday.

Cued in by a trumpeter stationed in a balcony opposite him, the bass-baritone voice of Wilfried Van den Brande ripped through the quiet atmosphere of a residential street in central Antwerp.

Curious onlookers were drawn out on their balconies as a few passers-by filed into the street to enjoy Van den Brande's rendering of the American jazz standard 'Summertime.'


The impromptu performance came as dozens across Belgium took part in a collective show of support for medical staff on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cheered and thanked by his homebound neighbours for his performance, Van den Brande told Radio 2 Antwerp that his goal was to show support to people feeling "isolated and anxious" in the current situation.

While Van den Brande said that his choice of song was best suited to a soprano, he said he hoped that he could get a pass given the current situation.

The Flemish opera singer, an enthusiast of American singer-songwriter, Cole Porter, has performed with opera houses and theatres across Belgium, from Brussels' La Monnaie to the Vlaamse Opera, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic or the Muziektheater Transparant.

Abroad, he has taken to the stage alongside the Orchestra Filarmonica Italiana, Germany's Heidelberger Symphoniker or Vienna's, Wiener Schubertensemble, among other stints with companies in Spain or England.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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