My Belgian cultural attach‚ informs me, in all honesty, that VLM Airlines is sponsoring an operatic production called "Flight". Although produced in the Flemish-speaking area of Belgium, the opera is sung in English and tells the tale of a cast of characters based at Birmingham Airport.

According to Budgie News' arts critic, Fiona Freebie, key characters include Capt William Tell and his first officer - "The Flying Dutchman" - both condemned to wait for a departure slot until doomsday, or the fixing of a Eurocontrol computer glitch - whatever comes first. In the terminal are several wedding guests who attended the marriage of Figaro, a local publican. They include Aida, Tony and Cleo, Boris Goodenough, Don Coyote and Carmen, a second-hand auto-sales executive from Coventry. The party also includes a drunken group of Germans who pass the time singing loudly in the bar. The "Meistersingers of Nuremberg" are accompanied by a barber from Seville who offers free haircuts in exchange for drinks. In the corner sit a sad couple from Dudley, Art Ello and Des Demona, while an increasingly intoxicated woman, dubbed "the merry widow" laughs at the antics of the barman Don (Giovanni) who pretends his cell phone is a magic flute.

Fiona comments: "An opera featuring pilots, baggage handlers, drunks and toilet cleaners doesn't really appeal to me, I must say."

Source: Flight International