Brokeback Mountain Commissioned for New York City Opera


The New York City opera has commissioned a work by Charles Wuorinen based on the 1997 Annie Proulx short story Brokeback Mountain, which, of course, became perhaps the most groundbreaking gay film of all time:

“The opera is scheduled to premiere in spring 2013, City Opera said Sunday. It will be City Opera’s second Wuorinen premiere, following ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories,’ which was based on a Salman Rushdie novel and opened in October 2004. ‘Ever since encountering Annie Proulx’s extraordinary story I have wanted to make an opera on it, and it gives me great joy that Gerard Mortier and New York City Opera have given me the opportunity to do so,’ Wuorinen said in a statement.”


  1. Robin Miller says

    Yes, I wish some of the tlaents involved had been gay, David Ehrenstein. It really is too bad that no-one involved in making the picture was as tlaented as you.

  2. anon says

    David, as an insider, you know damn well they couldn’t even get a director to do the thing it was so radioactive. Don’t let Leland hear you talk that way! Poor Heath is now dead, didn’t even make it to 39, probably because he couldn’t take the pressure after the movie.

    An opera? You can hear the marketing chatter behind this one: “Gay men like opera, don’t they? And they loved BBM, didn’t they? So why not combine the two!”

    “You’re a genius, JB!”

  3. wetcnt says

    Anon wrote: “Poor Heath is now dead, didn’t even make it to 39, probably because he couldn’t take the pressure after the movie…”

    No sir, Heath died because he was an addict. He was an addict long before he did that movie.

    To insinuate that playing gay drives anyone to die is horribly irresponsible and stupid.

  4. Henry Holland says

    Charles Wuorinen is an unrepentant modernist; he has no time for people that write easy-to-grasp, hummable stuff. I can’t wait to see all the queens who show up expecting a bunch of pleasant melodies and catchy rhythms, like it’s a musical, and are faced with his serialist, non-hummable style. Should be a lot of fun! In any case “Haroun” is a fine opera and he should do a wonderful job with this.

  5. Leland Frances says


    Yeah, that would have made it even better than the most adored, most critically acclaimed gay-themed movie of all time. I mean it could have been as faboo as “Sordid Lives” or “Eating Out” or “The Trip” or “Dante’s Cove” [just imagine REICHEN playing Ennis—be still my heart!!!] or fill-in-the-blank.

    But thanks for the 11th Commandment: movies about gays have to be made by gays—including all gay roles played by actual gay actors. Therefore, movies about straights can only be made by straights and straight roles only played by straights. Black by black. Asian by Asian. Jewish by Jews. Latino by Latinos. Women by women. Children by children.

  6. anon says

    Wetcnt: I think you misunderstood my comments. It wasn’t that he played gay that led to the overdose, it was the ramping up of his career along with all the pressure and high expectations. I was suggesting that David’s comments were a tad insensitive to the pressures felt by the actual crew of the movie, who did put there all into it even if they were not gay. Also, they picked a guy who could really, really act, but could not handle the career pressure. Why? because no one else would take the role! We’ll never know how many much better known actors skipped out on the role to protect their careers (gay or straight). By David’s reasoning, the role should have gone “straight” to Chad Allen.

  7. Paul Rat says

    Anon, your comments suggest that Heath was somehow forced to take the role, that no one else possibly would have done it, and that it created pressures he couldn’t bear. Umm, you do know that he went on to play The Joker in the new Batman movie, correct? As someone said, he died because he took too many drugs. Whether his drug use had anything to do with his career or just his basic temperament is something we can’t know.

    And yes, it wouldn’t be a Towleroad day without someone bitching about how we gays are so self-hating that we dare to appreciate the talent, looks, or personalities of straight men. I personally didn’t care for Brokeback, but I do understand its importance. I would venture that having straight actors—especially actors as hot as Jake and Heath—might have been even more groundbreaking and likely to get an audience for this movie. It removed some of the “ewwww” factor for many people. Otherwise it would readily have been pegged a “gay” movie and so would have had a decidedly smaller audience—and no chance for Oscars. Oh and as we all know, there are countless high-profile out actors these days. Thousands upon thousands.

  8. Fin De Fichier says

    No, Paul Rat. What truly would have been groundbreaking would have been a straight man, and an openly gay man, playing the 2 protagonists!

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