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Netflix hit Tiger King turned into five-act TikTok opera

The English National Opera said the performance is ‘slightly mad’ (Netflix/The English National Opera)
The English National Opera said the performance is ‘slightly mad’ (Netflix/The English National Opera)

The English National Opera (ENO) has teamed up with TikTok stars to turn the Netflix series Tiger King into a five-act “TikTopera”.

The musical work sees singers and a full orchestra retell the docuseries about an Oklahoma-based tiger park in a five-part series of 60-second videos on TikTok, ahead of the launch of the second season of the hit show this week.

“The TikTopera is slightly mad, like Tiger King itself,” Stuart Murphy, chief executive of the ENO, told the PA news agency.

“It was a nightmare trying to get all the complexities of Tiger King into 60 seconds because there’s love, betrayal and even attempted murder.”

The performance features TikTok stars and the English National Opera in a five-act opera (Netflix/The English National Opera)

Tiger King became one of Netflix’s most-watched series last year, and is set to return on Wednesday.

The seven-episode crime documentary followed the life of eccentric zookeeper Joe Exotic and his ongoing feud with fellow big-cat conservationist Carole Baskin.

The five videos show each cast member summarise the story of Tiger King through songs set to the music of French composer Georges Bizet’s 1875 masterpiece Carmen and joined by the ENO’s orchestra and 40-person chorus.

Lead roles in the opera are played by TikTok stars Sophia Aurora, Hannah Lowther and recording artist Hellovicco – alongside X-Factor finalists Max and Harvey, and Britain’s Got Talent comedian Phil Green.

Mr Murphy said he hopes the ENO’s performance will put opera in front of a new audience.

“I think people sometimes worry that opera is elitist and you need to have stamina to sit through several hours of it,” he said.

“I hope for some this will be an introduction to opera for the first time and they’ll love it and it will become lifelong passion.

“The English National Opera is all about popularizing huge and dramatic stories in the most entertaining way.

“When Netflix approached us, I think we were probably the only Opera House in the world that would give it a go.”

Tiger King was one of Netflix’s most-watched series in 2020 (Netflix/The English National Opera)

Mr Murphy said he felt there were parallels that could be drawn between Tiger King and traditional opera.

“As well as that big rivalry at the top with Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin, there’s also a huge love story underneath, where Joe is not only in love with tigers and animals, but he’s in love with many men,” he said.

“Opera is all about stories of love, betrayal, lust, passion and these are all the things that you see in Tiger King and why it was such a breakout hit.”

The musical medley has been released ahead of the release of Tiger King 2, which launches on November 17 on Netflix.

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