Six hour opera with real helicopters and a dancing camel to premiere in Birmingham


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The Independent Culture

Members of a string quartet have clambered aboard four helicopters to practise ahead of the world premiere of an opera which features an airborne performance and a dancing camel.

Karlheinz Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht, which lasts for around six hours, will be performed in its entirety for the first time when it begins a four-day run in Birmingham next Wednesday.

Taking place as part of the London 2012 Festival at the Argyle Works, a former chemical plant near Birmingham city centre, the opera includes performances by a string quartet streamed live to the venue from a flight of four helicopters.

The Birmingham Opera Company is presenting the seven-part opera, which has previously been described as "unstageable".

Speaking as the quartet prepared for the first practice run above Birmingham, violinist Emma Smith revealed that only one member of the team had flown in a helicopter before.

The musician told the reporters: "It is quite unusual.

"Our instruments are mic'd and the sound is relayed back to the hall.

"We have practised in four rooms to try and simulate the feeling of being apart and we are really looking forward to it."