Opera festival wants online ideas

The Savonlinna Opera Festival has invited the public to help it create an opera entirely from on-line submissions. The festival launched its Opera by You project yesterday with the aim of having it ready to stage a premiere of the production in the summer of 2012.

"Any member of the internet community can help to write the libretto, compose the music, design the sets and costumes – from beginning to end," said the organisers of the festival, which staged the family opera The Canine Kalevala.

"Through this project, we [hope to] tempt new people into the... world of opera," they said. All of the opera's personnel – soloists, a chorus of 80, a symphony orchestra and production crew – can be used by contributors. Early story proposals on the site include a tale about a blacksmith who helps local farmers to rise up against tyrannical lords, and another about a knight who "gets sucked through space and time" into the 16th century. About 60,000 people visit Savonlinna, north-east of Helsinki, for the festival, which is staged inside the town's medieval castle.