The English National Opera begins the UK-wide rollout of ENO Breathe, a new prescribed programme of singing, breathing and wellbeing, designed to help those recovering from the symptoms of COVID-19.

The programme uses the techniques used for singers to improve quality of breath and help manage the anxiety that breathlessness often produces. Singing is shown to help retrain breathing, so ENO Breathe is using lullabies and singing exercises to help improve those with shortness of breath.

It is hoped that this new scheme will support those suffering from the effects of long COVID, for which there is an increasing demand across the NHS.

The ENO initially launched a trial in September 2020 in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which has proved to be successful. Of the 12 participants involved with the trial, 90% reported improvements in symptoms and emotional and physical wellbeing. Before entering the programme, the group's average Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment score was 6.7, and by the end of the six-week programme that number had dropped to 3.2.

The scheme will now be rolled out to up to 1,000 patients and more than 25 post-COVID clinics across London and the North of England. The participating post-COVID clinics are listed below:

Cheshire & Merseyside

  • Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (includes Cheshire East, Cheshire West, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, South Sefton, Southport & Formby, Warrington and Wirral)


  • Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle


  • Royal Oldham Hospital, Manchester
  • North Manchester General Hospital


  • University College London Hospital Trust
  • Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust (City & Hackney)
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (St Mary’s Hospital/Charing Cross Hospital/Hammersmith Hospital)
  • Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust - St Thomas’ Hospital
  • King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – King's College Hospital, Princess Royal University Hospital
  • Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (Royal Free Hospital and Barnet Hospital)


Freya ParrDigital Editor and Staff Writer, BBC Music Magazine

Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.