Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Tuesday, 29 September 2009 16:02 UK

Sting attempts to 'open up opera'

Sting takes the role of Robert Schumann, while Trudie Styler is his wife Clara

Sting is hoping to attract new fans to opera with his latest release, a film in which he and wife Trudie Styler tell the story of composer Robert Schumann.

Sting and Styler read the love letters between Schumann and his wife Clara.

Backed by musicians and opera singers, their performance, Twin Spirits, was filmed at the Royal Opera House.

"One of the reasons we were interested, was that the money is going to be used to open the opera house to the wider community," Sting said.

Twin Spirits has been released on DVD to raise money for the Royal Opera House Education Programme.

The Police singer said the proceeds would allow people from all backgrounds to take part in opera.

"It's people who don't normally come to the opera, are not involved in opera, because it's too highbrow or too posh or too expensive," he told BBC News.

Sting and Trudie Styler in Twin Spirits
Actor Derek Jacobi (behind) narrates the performance

"There's skill involved in putting an opera on, it's not just singing - it's making sets, it's making wigs, it's making dresses, it's scene-shifting. The idea of bringing that to the wider community appeals to both of us."

Sting describes Schumann's doomed relationship with Clara, one of Germany's leading concert pianists of the mid-19th Century, as "tragic".

Styler said she and her husband had not been interested in opera until the late Luciano Pavarotti invited them to a performance of Tosca.

She said: "Luciano really made opera populist culture, and I'd like to think in our small way that this is something he'd very much approve of and we're going to bring in people who don't normally come."

Actor Derek Jacobi narrates the performance, which was devised and directed by John Caird.

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