BBC's Surprise Opera Turns Up in Paddington Station

Classic Arts News   BBC's Surprise Opera Turns Up in Paddington Station
The BBC staged a "flashmob" opera in London's Paddington Station last night, treating unsuspecting commuters to an hour-long opera about a football fan and his girlfriend.

According to Gramophone Online, TV cameras, a 62-piece orchestra, and singers appeared in the station around 8 p.m., accompanied by an audience alerted to the location via mobile phone text messages.

The performance, which was broadcast on BBC Three, was inspired by the flashmob phenomenon that began in the United States in June 2003, when a crowd of 150 organized by performance artist Bill W suddenly materialized at Macy's in Manhattan and said they were shopping for a "love rug."

In the opera, which made use of arias by Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini, a seducer, played by baritone Rodney Clarke, attempts to lure Sally (soprano Rachel Nicolls) away from her football-loving boyfriend Mike (tenor Nicholas Ransley). At the climax, Sally must decide whether to leave Mike and board the 9 o'clock train for Swindon.

The performance will repeated tonight, in a yet-to-be-determined train station.

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