English National Opera's Mini Operas – a worldwide, online search for scriptwriters, composers and film-makers – launches today. For this, the first stage, scriptwriters are invited to create mini-libretti based on one of three scenarios provided by three leading writers. Will Self has suggested 'Death of a Government Inspector', based on the life and death of British scientist and biological warfare expert David Kelly. AL Kennedy's 'On Paper' is a scenario about a couple who communicate through letters, words, phone and speech. 'The Sweeper of Dreams' by Neil Gaiman, meanwhile, creates a scene of dreams and nightmares: 'After all the dreaming is over, after you wake, and leave the world of madness and glory for the mundane daylit daily grind, through the wreckage of your abandoned fancies walks the sweeper of dreams.'
Once the 10 scriptwriter finalists have been chosen later in the year, composers will submit original soundtracks to accompany the stories; 10 finalists will be chosen by Nico Muhly and ENO music director Edward Gardner. At this point, the final, film-making round will begin, judged by film legend and director of ENO’s The Damnation of Faust, Terry Gilliam.
The competition reaches its final stage at the British Film Institute in the autumn, when Gilliam will pick one overall winner from each category. For more information, and to read each writer's scenario in full, visit minioperas.org