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Last Updated: Friday, 14 January, 2005, 02:28 GMT
'Gaddafi - The Opera' on its way
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi
The opera's main character has led Libya since 1969
Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is to be the central character in a new opera staged by English National Opera.

Announcing its 2005-6 season, ENO said the opera looks at "a man of humble origin... who became a powerful and influential political leader".

It also explores "the volatile relationship between the Middle East and the West", ENO said.

The opera is composed by Steve Chandra Savale, of band Asian Dub Foundation, with words by playwright Shan Khan.

ENO artistic director Sean Doran on Thursday declined to say whether he expected controversy over the work.

The announcement comes less than a week after the BBC's screening of Jerry Springer - The Opera, which has been accused of blasphemy.

The corporation received 47,000 complaints ahead of the broadcast.

Col Gaddafi has been Libyan head of state since leading a bloodless coup in 1969.

In the years since he has supported a broad range of militant groups, including the IRA and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

Libya's alleged involvement in attacks in Europe in the 1980s led to US military strikes in 1986.

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