It's Not Over Till The Transsexual Sings

My mum used to be my dad, snip, snip" and "I used to be a preoperative transsexual" are not lines usually found in grand opera. But they are sung in a delicate staccato fugue, by soaring sopranos and firm baritones, in the most talked-about new show in London. High culture meets the dumbed-down dregs of television in Jerry Springer--The Opera, which opens this week at London's Royal National Theater.

It may seem perverse to take a trashy TV talk show and turn it into opera. Yet composer Richard Thomas and lyricist Stewart Lee see the transition as natural. "The format of...

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