Royal Opera House Commissions Work by ... Twitter Users

Goal Is to Demystify Art Form, Get Fans Involved

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LONDON ( -- The Royal Opera House in London is attempting to cast off its traditional image by staging a "people's opera," with a story line written by Twitter users.

The words -- put together in 140-character "tweets" -- will be set to some familiar opera tunes, as well as to original music by composer Helen Porter. Scenes from the final production will premiere at the Deloitte Ignite 09 festival in September.

The Royal Opera House blog provides the start of the story: "One morning, very early, a man and a woman were standing, arm-in-arm, in London's Covent Garden. The man turned to the woman and he sang ..."

By the end of the first scene, according to the blog, "William is languishing in a tower, having been kidnapped by a group of birds who are anxious for revenge after he has killed one of their number. Hans has promised to rescue him. The Woman With No Name is off to her biochemistry laboratory to make a potion to let people speak to the birds."

Twitter users can make contributions using the hashtag #youropera. Tweets have trickled in, and 32 had been posted to the Twitter Opera feed at the time of writing. They include, "The sword in the Mount of Banality where all the triviality in the world distracts the seeker" and "Geese only hiss when theyre [sic] in a bad mood, if you hiss at them they will think you quite rude."

For the Royal Opera House, it's a way of demystifying an art form that can sometimes seem exclusive and intimidating and getting fans involved in creating a production. It is the latest attempt to broaden the Royal Opera House's appeal, and follows a collaboration last summer with the popular tabloid The Sun, which gave its readers exclusive access to the opening night of the Royal Opera House's new season last September.

Alison Duthie, head of the Royal Opera House's ROH2 program, said, "It's the people's opera and the perfect way for everyone to become involved with the inventiveness of opera as the ultimate art of storytelling."

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