About this event

  • Date and time Thu 21 Feb 2019 from 10:45am to 3:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Retired Fellows Society

This talk will enhance the appreciation of the extraordinary skill and dedication necessary for classical singing. The fundamental principles will be described and then explained in terms of the anatomy and physiology of the larynx, breathing mechanism and resonators of the upper airway.

The features of a good opera libretto will be discussed as will the problems of translation from a work’s original language, both for singing and for the production of sur- and subtitles for the opera house and live relay.

Some ideas on the “X-factor”, why some singers command immediate attention, will be proposed. The talk will be illustrated with musical examples from recordings and video clips.

Key speakers

Dr Hugh Seeley

Regional postgraduate dean, University of London

Speaker's biography

Dr Hugh Seeley was a consultant anaesthetist at St George’s Hospital, London, and for the last seven years of his medical career a regional postgraduate dean in the University of London. He started singing lessons while still at school and was a choral scholar at Clare College, Cambridge.

At the age of 52 his singing studies were interrupted for a few years by the sudden onset of a neurological problem affecting the larynx. This evoked an interest in the anatomy and physiology involved in singing and gave him time to reflect on the marriage of words and music that underlies this art form.


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction
Reflections on singing from an erstwhile physician and erstwhile singer

Dr Hugh Seeley

Close of meeting followed by lunch

Lunch is now fully booked.


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom

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