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Karlheinz Stockhausen's last unperformed opera, Mittwoch aus Licht, has finally been put on stage by the Birmingham Opera Company. Utilising a cast of over 150 performers and lasting over five hours, the opera's highlights include live camels, a string quartet in helicopters and a lot of paint.
Two live camels are wrangled outside the performance space, the Argyle Works.
The performers for Mittwoch aus Licht require a huge amount of distinctive make-up - here one performer has his applied.
Performers for Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht prepare their distinctive make-up.
Some preparations are surprisingly thorough for the last unperformed Stockhausen opera, Mittwoch aus Licht.
Performers prepare to take the stage (or umpire's chair?) for Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht.
The performers take the stage in the five-hour opera, Mittwoch aus Licht.
The warehouse setting for Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht.
The camels prepare for their stage debut in Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht.
Just when you were comfortable with the idea of a camel on stage, Stockhausen throws in a trombonist in a paddling pool. Why not?
If you look closely, you can make out the members of Stockhausen's infamous helicopter string quartet, suspended (for rehearsal purposes) from the ceiling. The actual performance features a video link from four real helicopters flying outside the venue.
It all gets a bit too much for the trombonist...
A string quartet are suspended in the air as part of Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht. Bet it's a nightmare for tuning.
One of the most striking visual elements of Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht has to be the sight of a camel with a bottle of champagne in its mouth.
Stockhausen's opera takes an even more surreal turn...
The paint-strewn cast of Stockhausen's Mittwoch aus Licht take their bow, having performed the composer's last unperformed opera.