Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Football Fever Inspires Unusual Opera in Germany

A singer performs during a football opera in Hamburg, Germany, June 15, 2024. (Reuters)
A singer performs during a football opera in Hamburg, Germany, June 15, 2024. (Reuters)
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Football Fever Inspires Unusual Opera in Germany

A singer performs during a football opera in Hamburg, Germany, June 15, 2024. (Reuters)
A singer performs during a football opera in Hamburg, Germany, June 15, 2024. (Reuters)

Football fever at Euro 2024 in Germany is being felt not only inside packed stadiums, raucous bars and heaving city squares - but also in the more rarefied atmosphere of an opera house.

On the banks of the Elbe river in Hamburg, one of the tournament's host cities, a new production called the "Fussballoper" (Football Opera) is selling out to lovers of both sport and music.

The work by director Inken Rahardt recreates a football pitch and the chaotic interactions between players, referee and ball, mixing fan chants with traditional arias and pop songs.

Naturally, it lasts 90 minutes: the time of a game.

"The connection between football and opera is just perfect," Rahardt said on another busy night at the Opernloft (Opera Loft) venue in a trendy part of Germany's second-largest city.

"The hall is buzzing, people are happy, they recognize the soccer moves, connect that with the emotional music of opera and just have a great evening."

Songs range from the Champions League anthem to Giacomo Puccini's "Nessun dorma" - with plenty of participation from spectators in colorful hats and scarves.

"It's a big mix of everything, different genres," said singer Freja Sandkamm, who plays a referee and quipped that her biggest challenge was to suppress her normal opera voice and learn how to "belt" out football songs instead.

Spectators were delighted.

One lady said she was finally able to bring her football-loving partner to the opera, while others praised the imaginative albeit surreal fusion of entertainment cultures.

"I chose it for the combination really because I thought it's really a good way to attract people that maybe are not going to opera very much," said York Rudhard, 53, a pharmaceutical scientist from Hamburg.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : ‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ Celebrates Friendship, Ryan Reynolds Says

Canadian-US actor Ryan Reynolds (L) and Australian actor Hugh Jackman pose on the red carpet upon arrival to attend the UK sneak peek event for "Deadpool & Wolverine", at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, west London on July 11, 2024. (AFP)
Canadian-US actor Ryan Reynolds (L) and Australian actor Hugh Jackman pose on the red carpet upon arrival to attend the UK sneak peek event for "Deadpool & Wolverine", at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, west London on July 11, 2024. (AFP)
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‘Deadpool & Wolverine’ Celebrates Friendship, Ryan Reynolds Says

Canadian-US actor Ryan Reynolds (L) and Australian actor Hugh Jackman pose on the red carpet upon arrival to attend the UK sneak peek event for "Deadpool & Wolverine", at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, west London on July 11, 2024. (AFP)
Canadian-US actor Ryan Reynolds (L) and Australian actor Hugh Jackman pose on the red carpet upon arrival to attend the UK sneak peek event for "Deadpool & Wolverine", at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, west London on July 11, 2024. (AFP)

The global promotional tour for "Deadpool & Wolverine" touched down in London on Thursday, with stars Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman bringing their bromance to the movie's UK sneak peek event.

The two have entertained fans with their humorous, high-energy appearances at previous stops in Shanghai, Seoul and Berlin.

The third installment in the "Deadpool" movie franchise sees Jackman's Wolverine return from retirement to help wise-cracking Deadpool (Reynolds) save his world.

"It's about friendship," said Reynolds, who also co-wrote and produced the film.

"There's so many moments in the movie where it's hard to tell if Deadpool's talking to Wolverine, Wolverine talking to Deadpool, or it's Hugh and Ryan talking to each other. And I'm really proud of those moments."

Jackman had not planned to reprise the role of the gruff, clawed X-Man Wolverine. But the Australian actor said his mind started changing after he watched the first "Deadpool" film.

"It was something in here," he said, pointing at his heart. "I really thought I was done. And then, five or six years later, I was driving and I just knew in my bones I wanted to do that."

"I knew for fans it would be the thing they'd waited for, I knew it'd be a kind of dynamic that we've never seen before. I had no idea how hard it would be physically at age 55 to do it but it's absolutely worth it. I have loved every second."

Secrecy surrounds the film's plot details. Respecting the characters and their legacy was at the heart of the writing process, said director and co-writer Shawn Levy.

"But then we pushed them into areas that other movies haven't," he said. "I think you're going to see some aspects to both their performances that are quite different than what we've seen in their prior films."

The only Marvel-Disney movie released this year, "Deadpool & Wolverine" is expected to be a box office hit when it begins its global cinematic rollout on July 24.

"There is a lot riding on it but we've worked really hard to deliver the goods," said Levy.

"I focus on the opportunity, not the expectation. The creative opportunity to connect with a huge global audience in a new way, in a surprising and fresh way, that was delicious," he said.

For Reynolds, 47, releasing the film to the world comes with other concerns.

"I feel like I've waited my entire life to do this one movie. The only problem that poses is I don't know what the hell we're supposed to do next."