Now it rejoins its football associations with the screening of a new football-based opera, staged by Grange Park Opera.
Gods of the Game is the title of a work premiered at the company's Surrey home in October, and shortly free to view on Sky Arts (Sun 13 Nov). In this musical celebration of the highs and lows of the game, real chants from the terraces are blended with new music by five composers, plus opera greats including 'Nessun dorma' and extracts from Mozart's Don Giovanni.
Commissioned by Sky Arts, Gods of the Game stars actor and comedian Lee Mack in the commentary box. Mack admits to be a newcomer to opera – or so he thought, until it turned out that tunes he knew and loved originated in opera. 'Every time I hear Nessun dorma I think about those missed penalties,' he says.
Composers of the original music, the so-called 'five-a-side', are Lucy Armstrong, Ábel Esbenshade, Blasio Kavuma, Aran O’Grady and Julian Philips. Philips is Head of Composition at Guildhall School, and the composers he worked with are Guildhall School Composition students.
The excellent cast includes tenor David Webb and German mezzo-soprano Idunnu Münch. Says Webb, talking to Sky News: 'You will be a changed person after you've seen the show. I would love for people to watch the show and hear some banging tunes. We're actually doing something that is reflecting life in art, and art and life.' And you can't have banging tunes with dancing: choreography is by Lizzi Gee.
Even though opera tickets at Covent Garden cost from £1, and are free of charge to younger music-lovers at English National Opera, there is still a perception that opera is an elitist activity. (Remind me: how much does it cost to go to a Premier League football match?) Gods of the Game challenges that sterotype.
And if you want to hear 'Nessun Dorma' in its original place, catch Turandot at the Royal Opera House from 10 March to 13 April. Booking is open. Seats are from £1...
|What||Gods of the Game, Sky Arts|
|Where||Online | MAP|
On 13 Nov 22, Free to view on Sky Arts and Freeview, time TBC
|Website||For more details click here|