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The first -- and maybe last -- Twitter Opera

August 11, 2009 |  7:00 am

Opera
What would Birgit Nilsson tweet? Credit: AP.

Calling all Twitter divas, this is your big chance.

One of the world's most prestigious opera companies, the Royal Opera House in London, is producing what is probably the first (and quite possibly last) Twitter opera. The entire libretto will consist of Twitter messages -- at a maximum 140 characters, each -- sent to the director.

If you use Twitter, the Royal Opera is calling upon you to participate. Just look up the story so far and add your own tweet to the storyline. It does not have to make sense (this is opera).

In fact, the company says of the project, "We're investigating how short, 140-character contributions can build upon each other to create a non-linear narrative."

One critic has already weighed in. BBC Music Magazine editor Jeremy Pound characterized the Twitter Opera as "an accident waiting to happen," in an interview with the London Evening Standard.

Of course Pound has not seen the work -- it's scheduled to debut next month as part of an opera festival -- but parts of the libretto are online.

Here's the end of Act One, Scene One: "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."

Ah, the lost section of the Ring cycle: Twitter-dammerung.

-- David Colker

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