U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival Adds Opera

This year's Glastonbury Festival will feature opera for the first time in its 23-year history.

This year's Glastonbury Festival will feature opera for the first time in its 23-year history.

The English National Opera will stage the third act of Wagner's "The Valkyrie" at the June music festival, organizer Michael Eavis said today (May 5).

Tickets for the festival in Pilton, southwest England, to be held June 25-27, sold out in 24 hours when they went on sale last month. Pop and rock music are traditionally featured. This year's lineup includes Paul McCartney, Oasis and Muse.

ENO hopes the performance on the festival's final day will reach an audience who would not normally go to the opera.

The Sunday-morning revelers will hear a five-minute introductory blast of "The Ride of the Valkyries," familiar from the film "Apocalypse Now," followed by a possibly less familiar 50 minutes of sung drama.

"People will know the music and I think they will be thrilled," Eavis said. "It is fairly straightforward music, so I think it will be exciting and quite fun."

He said ENO had approached him for a festival slot about six months ago. "They wanted to do something to bring opera to the people. And this is where the people are."

The potential 150,000-strong audience is likely to be the largest ever gathered for an operatic performance in Britain.

"We will have a 91-piece orchestra and 11 soloists, so there will be more than 100 people on the stage," said Sean Doran, ENO's artistic director and chief executive.

"That in itself will be a spectacle as well as what the audience will hear."

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