02/12/2009 AT 02:55 PM EST
From the guy who brought you Jerry Springer: The Opera
comes the latest collision of high and low culture: an opera based on the life of Anna Nicole Smith
Britain's Royal Opera has recruited composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and Springer co-librettist Richard Thomas to create an opera about the Playboy
model and octogenarian's wife who died of an overdose in 2007.
Despite the subject matter, the show "is not going to be tawdry. It is going to be witty, clever, thoughtful and sad," company director Elaine Padmore tells Britain's Guardian
"It is not just a documentary about her," she says, "but a parable about celebrity and what it does to people."
– Mike Fleeman