The annual Memorial Service began five years ago to honour those who have lost their lives while serving the United Nations. Today Mr. Ban paid tribute to Jori De Marco, who was killed while serving as a Security Officer for the Observer Mission in Tajikistan, which operated from 1994 to 2000. The service then offered a minute of silence to those lost.“Like all of you, I have been deeply affected by the losses of friends and colleagues on the job. In many ways, that feeling never goes away,” said Mr. Ban.“The men and women we recognize today came from all corners of the world. They served in difficult and dangerous conditions. What drew them together?” he asked.“Our blue flag and all it represents. There are many flags in the world. But only one represents all of humanity equally. All countries. All faiths. All people. One flag. Others have tried to turn it into a target. But that flag remains a beacon,” he declared. Mr. Ban has attended staff memorials in many countries. Today’s was an opportunity to speak of the solidarity that the UN represents around the world, and to reassert the Organization’s conviction that working together can heal communities and make the world a better place. “That is what summons us to work every day,” the Secretary-General said. “And it is that calling for which our colleagues made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “If you are wandering up Bow Street, you can look in and see activity,” says Beard. “Architectural symbolism is super-important. And having a window on the institution creates a different sense of relationship with the wider public than if you just have a portico.”Ahead of the unveiling, Sir Antonio Pappano, music director at Covent Garden who had signalled he would soon leave the role, has confirmed he will stay until 2023, suggesting there was no-one else ready for the job yet.”I will take a sabbatical in the 2020-21 season,” he told the newspaper. “Why? Well, my departure was all agreed, then there was a huge problem about my potential successor. Alex Beard (left) on stage at the Royal Opera HouseCredit:Alastair Muir “I’m not going to throw 16 years of work away because the right person isn’t yet there to follow me.” The project, entitled Open Up, has taken three years and £27m to complete, and includes new cafe and bars with wifi, and a refurbished restaurant, to entice people into the building “whether or not you’re coming to a show”.It will also have a new front of house programme, with “taster and full-length live performances” in the foyer, and the “intimate” Linbury Theatre redesigned and designated for “affordable” tickets. “So what we are trying to do with this project is to celebrate the Royal Opera House in a way that is true to who we are, but also bring in a whole new audience to experience it.” The inclusion of “Royal” in the name of the Royal Opera House is “off-putting” to the general public, its chief executive has claimed, ahead of unveiling a project to “open up” the building.Alex Beard, who has been in post since 2013, said the Covent Garden opera house suffered judgments about its title, with those who are not familiar with its work fearing it is not for them.A redesign of the building, due to be officially opened this week, is intended to make it more welcoming to visitors, allowing them to see its activities from the outside before being lured in.In an interview with the Sunday Times magazine, Beard said: “Well, we had three problems. “Royal. Opera. And House. Each of those words is charged.“They say this place is exceptional and high quality, but if opera isn’t part of your world and the royals are by definition ‘other’, and this is not your ‘house’, it can be a bit off-putting. Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House in MayCredit:Robbie Jack/Corbis via Getty Images Sir Antonio Pappano “I had planned other things in 2020-21 — and I don’t think it’s bad to give the musicians a break — but I’ll come back for two more years after that.