Innovation That Matters

Royal Opera House uses Twitter to crowdsource a libretto

Publishing & Media

Micro-blogging service Twitter and London’s Royal Opera House may not be seen as birds of a feather. Founded hundreds of years apart, one represents a stronghold of traditional high culture, the other the fizzing surface of contemporary communication. But the tendency of culture to respond to new technology should never be underestimated—over the past three weeks the ROH has been using Twitter to crowdsource the libretto for a new “people’s opera”. “The Twitter Opera” is to be performed as part of the ROH’s Deloitte Ignite Festival at the beginning of September. The libretto will consist entirely of 140-character tweets that the ROH has received from members of the public since the project was launched. It will be set to original music composed by Helen Porter, along with some more familiar classics. Simply put, the goal is to help attract a wider audience. Alison Duthie of the ROH summed this up: “It’s the people’s opera and the perfect way for everyone to become involved with the inventiveness of opera as the ultimate form of storytelling.” The plot, which is now complete, begins—fittingly—with a man being kidnapped by a flock of birds. We’ve featured a number of Twitter-friendly endeavours on Springwise, from package tracking to wine tasting. This pioneering effort by a cultural icon shows that there are equally novel opportunities in the arts. In the collective imagination, great ideas can take flight—and can also be a valuable feather in one’s publicity cap. For more on how organisations are using Twitter to converse and create with their audience, check out’s briefing on foreverism. (Related: Wiki publisher for collaborative writingPublisher hopes crowds will spot next bestsellerLive opera on the silver screen.) Twitter: Spotted by: Jim Stewart



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