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.



Bruce Springsteen Is Officially a Billionaire

 Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band perform during a concert at Strawberry Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on Monday, July 15, 2024. (AP)
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band perform during a concert at Strawberry Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on Monday, July 15, 2024. (AP)
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Bruce Springsteen Is Officially a Billionaire

 Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band perform during a concert at Strawberry Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on Monday, July 15, 2024. (AP)
Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band perform during a concert at Strawberry Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on Monday, July 15, 2024. (AP)

The Boss is officially a billionaire, Forbes said Friday, estimating that Bruce Springsteen is conservatively worth $1.1 billion.

The guitar hero bard behind hits including "The River" has solidified much of his wealth in recent years, the financial outlet indicated, in no small part due to a blockbuster sale in 2021 of his music catalog to Sony for an estimated half-a-billion dollars.

The deal followed his wildly successful Broadway show run. Now, Springsteen is on a global tour currently set to run through 2025.

According to industry tracker Pollstar, in 2023 Springsteen sold more than 1.6 million concert tickets, raking in $380 million in revenue.

And the 74-year-old "Dancing in the Dark" singer shows no signs of slowing down.

For decades the "Jungleland" songwriter has penned music that focuses a sentimental lens on underdogs and the working class -- and he's sold 140 million albums globally, placing him among the all-time bestselling musicians ever.

A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee with 20 Grammys and an Oscar to his name, Springsteen is also set to be the subject of a forthcoming biopic, with Jeremy Allen White of "The Bear" fame slated to play him.

His marathon shows are the stuff of legend, with the longest clocking in at more than four hours, a performance he pulled off in Helsinki in 2012.

Other industry heavyweights who have hit the billionaire mark include Rihanna, Jay-Z and Taylor Swift.