International Twitter War Becomes An Opera

Last summer, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticized the economic austerity of Estonia. The president responded with some profanity-laced tweets. A composer and financial journalist teamed up to produce an opera based on the exchange.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is being set to music. Truth really is stranger than fiction, which is how a TV interview with President Richard Nixon could become a famous play, and how The New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright could create a forthcoming play on the Camp David accords. Now, an international Twitter war is becoming an opera.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Last summer, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman criticized the economic austerity of Estonia.

INSKEEP: The Estonian president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, was furious.

MONTAGNE: He went on Twitter to declare, quote, "Let's write about something we know nothing about and be smug, overbearing and patronizing." More presidential tweets followed - some, laced with profanity.

INSKEEP: Now, a composer and a financial journalist have teamed up to produce an opera based on this exchange. The verbal fireworks can now be sung - something like, you know, (Singing) You're overbearing, patronizing, you know nothing....

MONTAGNE: (LAUGHTER) Well, it will only last 15 minutes, though, when it premieres in Estonia this April.

(SOUNDBITE OF HABANERA FROM OPERA "CARMEN")

INSKEEP: Oh, that's beautiful. And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.