Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 10:12 UK

New platform for opera audience

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Singers mingled with commuters at the station in Zurich

Switzerland's busiest train station has been transformed for a special performance of Giuseppe Verdi's classic opera La Traviata.

Hundreds of people turned up to watch the performance at Zurich train station on Tuesday night.

Verdi's drama was also screened live on national TV and the internet.

Swiss national broadcaster SF1 said the aim was to bring opera to a wider audience by performing in a non-traditional setting.

It was reportedly inspired by the BBC's "flash-mob" opera at London's Paddington Station in 2004, which was broadcast on BBC Three.

'Daily stage'

The tragic love story was performed by Zurich Opera with Eva Mei in the role of Violetta, and tenor Vittorio Grigolo as Alfredo.

The performance provided a grittier version of the opera's themes of love, betrayal and redemption, with scenes set in the station's main hall, a coffee shop and on platforms.

SF1 said the goal was to present the tragic love story on a "daily stage... where life travels unflinching on its normal path".

Vittorio Grigolo as Alfredo in La Traviata at Zurich train station
Scenes were set in different parts of the station

The event was watched by hundreds of viewers, commuters, and rail workers as trains continued to arrive and depart at the station.

The performance was the latest in a growing trend of moving opera on to TV or the internet to boost its popularity.

New York's Metropolitan Opera has broadcast a number of performances to cinemas in the US, South America and Europe, to great success.

The Royal Opera House has shown productions on big screens in public places around the UK, and last week announced it was relaunching its website so full operas could be watched online.

People under 25 now account for nearly a quarter of attendees at Zurich Opera productions, director Alexander Perreira said.

"The television is part of that work," he said. "If we reach people for three, four, five minutes, maybe we give them the virus of opera."


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