Twitter Opera

August 13, 2009
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In an effort to get more people involved with opera, London’s Royal Opera House, which dates back to the 1600s, is producing an opera composed entirely of “tweets” from mini-blogging web site Twitter in an attempt to make opera accessible to the masses. But the writing of the piece isn’t being handled by a particular author. Rather, it’s being written by whoever feels like they want to contribute to it.

Twitter users are contributing to the libretto line by line, their imaginations limited only by the format of the micro-blogging site, which allows a maximum of 140 characters to be posted at a time. “The Twitter Opera” will then join all twitter messages to familiar opera tunes and new music by composers Helen Porter and Mark Teipler. Then, several singers will be chosen and the resulting “mini-operas” will be performed during a Royal Opera House festival in September.

Royal Opera House officials claim it will be the world’s first “online opera story.” Alison Duthie, director of ROH2, the Royal Opera House’s contemporary program, said the use of Twitter is part of a wider effort to get more people; especially the young people, interested in the art form.

The Royal Opera House is inviting contributions to the plot on its #youropera Twitter page. More than 350 people have contributed so far, with more signing on every day as word of the unusual project spreads. Contributions are being published on the Royal Opera House blog.