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Sex Workers' Opera is set to take London by storm

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What do the following operas have in common? La Traviata, The Threepenny Opera, Manon, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Madame Butterfly, Lulu.

The answer is that they’re all about sex-workers.

For centuries, composers and librettists have made money from courtesans by depicting their lives onstage. But Sex Workers’ Opera, which opens in London this week, aims to buck that trend.

“Writing stories from everyday life – that’s not uncommon in opera,” says director Alex Etchart. “But it’s never in the words of the people it’s representing.”

In 2013, as part of a Royal Opera House new writing programme, Etchart first began working on the idea of an opera written and performed by real sex workers, tackling their many different experiences and sung in their own voices.

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