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Shhhh, it's an opera -- in a flash

August 29, 2004|Chris Pasles

Sometime in October, British commuters at a busy mainline railway station will be suddenly confronted by a 65-piece orchestra, soloists and chorus from the Royal Opera House when the BBC stages a surprise "flash mob" opera.

"We are trying to keep the date secret," BBC Three Controller Stuart Murphy told the London Times on Wednesday.

The location will also be kept secret until the day of the performance.

"We are hoping to baffle commuters when the orchestra strikes up in the middle of the concourse," Murphy told the London Daily Express. "Commuting is usually glum, and this will lend a bit of fun to people's journeys."

"Flashmob -- The Opera" will offer a new version of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth in which the title characters are transformed into a soccer fan, Mike, and his fiancee, Sally.

Stephen Powell has created the story. Robert Ziegler will arrange the music -- arias from Puccini's "Madame Butterfly," Mozart's "Don Giovanni" and Verdi's "La Traviata." The arias will be sung to new English lyrics by Jeremy Sams. The performance will be broadcast live on BBC Three.

Flash mobs are a recent phenomenon in which people are told by e-mail or text message to show up somewhere. They're also told how to behave.

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