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Smaller is beautiful

Grand opera is a heritage industry in decline. But a new wave of "mini- operas" are setting out to woo fresh audiences

By Siobhan Roberts   August 2008

Heart of Darkness 8th August, Linbury Theatre (tickets on request)

Five:15 16th-17th August, Riverside Studios (£12.50)

In the not so distant past, Ian Rankin was just your average opera philistine. Then, on his 40th birthday, Inspector Rebus’s creator went to La Bohème. Seven years later, he has immersed himself in 15 more operas—the latest one of his own creation. Rankin wrote the libretto for a “mini-opera,” Gesualdo, mounted in Scottish Opera’s recent production Five:15, which arrives in London this August—five operas, each pairing a prominent writer and composer, each running a mere 15 minutes (Dream Argus from Five:15 is pictured,…

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