Brokeback Mountain – From Book to Film to Opera

September 13, 2013

brokebackA new opera based on Annie Proulx’s story Brokeback Mountain, originally commissioned for New York City Opera, will have its world premiere at the Teatro Real in Madrid on January 28.  Ms. Proulx, whose cowboy romance was made into an award-winning film in 2005, has written the libretto, saying that “one of her goals in writing it was to preserve the dry and laconic western tone of the story.” She and composer Charles Wuorinen began developing the opera at an artist’s retreat in Wyoming five years ago.  A Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur grant winner, Mr. Wuorinen’s previous opera was based on Salman Rushdie’s novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories. This new opera will star Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch and American tenor Tom Randle as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, respectively (played in the film version by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal). So will this opera version include the famous line: “I wish I knew how to quit you?” Guess we’ll just have to wait. Read more here.


Words and Music

October 3, 2012

Best-selling mystery writer Donna Leon is most famous for her Commissario Guido Brunetti series. But her new novel The Jewels of Paradise is based on a little-known Baroque composer Agostino Steffani. She collaborated with opera singer Cecilia Bartoli whose most recent recording Mission features Steffani’s music. Ms. Leon became friends with the opera star more than 20 years ago after she interviewed her for a German newspaper. It was Bartoli who suggested that Leon write a book about him. Apparently Leon has always been passionate about opera and is involved in the management of the Florence-based opera company Il Compresso Barocco. The Jewels of Paradise is her first stand-alone novel. Check out the article here.


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