Front of house greeter saves a concert at Wigmore Hall

Front of house greeter saves a concert at Wigmore Hall


norman lebrecht

July 30, 2017

From the Wigmore Hall:

We are very sorry to announce that soprano Ruby Hughes is indisposed.

But we found a solution very close to home.

22 year-old Milly Forrest has studied at the Royal Academy of Music and will start her Masters at the Royal College of Music in September. She is also a member of Front of House staff at the Wigmore Hall and very kindly agreed to save the day.

Milly will jin us in ensemble works by Schubert, Chabrier and Vaughan Williams, and as the soloist for ‘If Music be the Food of Love’.

We are very grateful to Milly for standing in.



  • Ungeheuer says:

    If true, sweet. But it all sounds calculated and suspicious. Unless she’s a master sight reader, musician and vocalist, all three at once.

    • Halldor says:

      How cynical. Why shouldn’t she be all three? The afternoon receptionist at my old orchestra won a MOBO award and topped the UK album charts 12 months after she left us.

    • Alex says:

      I personally know Milly and she is indeed all three of those things as well as working front of house for wigmore. Your skepticism is misplaced.

    • john humphreys says:

      A cynic sir! No reason whatsoever why Millie Forrest was not able to accomplish what was asked of her. Had it been a full length solo recital it might have been a different matter – but it wasn’t. Musicians (and actors) get ill and short notice stand-ins get a chance. The question I’m bound to ask is – did the girl taking Millie’s place in the cloakroom have sufficient experience to do the job properly. Perhaps you know?

  • Stuart Oxford says:

    Charity, Ungeheuer, charity. And if it does prove to be a fix, then it’s time to throw the book! But innocent until proven and all that…

  • DaveW says:

    Believe it or not, professional musicians are remarkably good at reading and performing music. I don’t see what’s so unbelievable. Good on her.

  • Halldor says:

    “Greeter” is an odd way to describe a member of Front of House staff. All Front of House staff (and there are many different roles) are, as a matter of basic professionalism, courteous, welcoming and helpful: but they also have fairly weighty health and safety responsibilities, and may or may not share legal responsibility (with sizeable personal penalties for non-compliance) for ensuring that terms of the venue’s license are adhered to. Front of House roles are challenging, require considerable training, and are often poorly-paid.

    They’re a venue’s front line: in my time FOH I found myself mending a leaking pipe, evacuating a full audience after an electricity failure, receiving volleys of abuse because an audience member was outraged by something a performer had said, giving CPR, liaising with emergency services over a bomb scare, making arrangements for a Royal visit, extinguishing a fire, receiving physical threats and cleaning up spilled fluids ranging from orange juice to human blood and most things in between. All with a smile on my face. It’s a lot more than simply standing at the door and saying “hello”.

  • Anon. says:

    It could be that Milly had studies and had experienced singing the works in the programme. The snobbish attitude of some of the comments left on this article is really uncalled for. The people who booked Milly obviously know what they are doing and appreciate and respect her talent. Good for her and I wish her the best of luck for this performance.

  • Robert King says:

    If you google this young lady you will find she looks to be a good soprano with plenty of experience under her belt. Wigmore has employed many fine musicians as “casuals” at the start of their careers, just as the London theatres are full of ushers and ticket tearers who are “resting” actors.

    In this case, it looks as if the one solo piece she took on was “If music be the food of love”, which most sopranos know. The rest of the programme for her was ensemble work: British singers by and large are superb sightreaders, so those numbers should have been no problem for her. Brava to her, and wonderful that Wigmore Hall should have given yet another talented young singer such a career lift.

  • Liz says:

    I was at the concert. She is a promising singer and sang her solo number very well indeed. There were 17 singers involved. And she sang at Wigmore in ensemble last year according to her biography, so is known to the management, who obviously thought quickly how to fill the void. The audience loved her and social media is ablaze with praise for the whole event. It was a really fantastic concert all round. Bravo Wigmore.

  • Alex Davies says:

    I, too, was at this concert. It’s very sad that people who were not there are rushing to make unkind judgements. Milly Forrest did a splendid job, and I don’t just mean a splendid job under the circumstances. I think it really does stretch plausibility to imagine that the Wigmore Hall would have advertised a particular artist with the intention of appearing to substitute one of their own front of house staff at the last minute as a publicity stunt. The fact is that many of the hall’s staff are students or recent graduates of one of the local music colleges, and it is hardly surprising that somebody that talented and highly trained could pull this off at the last minute. Indeed, I believe that Elizabeth Watts herself (billed as the star of last night’s concert) gained a degree of prominence when substituted at the last minute for a better known artist at the Southbank Centre some decade or so ago now. Congratulations are due to all those involved.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    My oh my, how the Anglos get so flustered and defensive of their own! Don’t they? Alright then, so glad to hear their singer conquered and that Imperial England has made a comeback.

    • Liz says:

      You seem to be a frequent commentator on this forum. Perhaps it’s your only outlet in life. How sad and bitter.
      This young singer will have a career spanning many decades and good luck to her. The unkind likes of you will be long forgotten by tomorrow, unless you keep sadly posting and posting as an online troll…to be forgotten all over again

    • DaveW says:

      Proof, if more proof were needed that this is a troll. Please ignore.

    • Alex Davies says:

      You do know, I assume, that the director of the Wigmore Hall is Irish, so hardly an “Anglo”. Anyway, you are a troll, so I don’t know why anyone bothers replying to your comments. I can assure you, however, that this story has nothing at all to do with the comeback of the British Empire.

      • Mike Schachter says:

        I am sure Mr Gilhooly would not like to be called an Anglo. He has done and is doing a brilliant job and is clearly more interested in promoting talent than in the snide comments of some posters.

    • Nicola Garcia says:

      Prior to entering the Royal
      Academy of Music, Millie received support from Scale Vocal Trust charity supports any gifted young singer who needs financial support in the very first steps of their training. It is available to anyone whatever their background and has a great track record of supporting BAME applicants since its inception in 2010 so no imperialism there st all. In fact if any readers know of a talented young singer thinking of applying to conservatoire in September 2017 for entry in 2018 then encourage them to go to the website and make contact with

  • Bowdoin Pirate says:

    How about congratulating Milly on standing in at the last minute, and wishing the very best to Ruby, who I know to be a fabulous singer and a fantastic person?

  • Peter Smith says:

    A belated follow-up to this: I heard Milly’s lunchtime recital at St Bride’s Fleet Street today, and she was terrific.