Brokeback Mountain | Madrid | News | Opera

‘Brokeback Mountain’ Opera to Open This Week in Madrid

Brokeback mountain

A modern opera adaption of Brokeback Mountain is set to open in Madrid later this week, AFP reports:

The Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch [right] as the hesitant Ennis and American tenor Tom Randle [left] as his devoted Jack play out their tale of secret love in homophobic 1960s Wyoming against a photographic backdrop of brooding mountains

At a dress rehearsal ahead of Tuesday night's world premiere, their voices soared over New York composer Charles Wuorinen's score, the orchestra sounding ominous and frenetic by turns as the doomed romance moved to its climax.

"The whole opera is about a typical kind of impossible situation, a tragic situation," said Wuorinen, who called on the writer Annie Proulx, author of the novella on which the film was based, to write the libretto.

"In this case, it's two people who in some way want to have a relationship which in their time is forbidden by society," Wuorinen told AFP.

"That's a very traditional operatic problem to deal with."

The English-language production will be premiering at Madrid’s Teatro Real.

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  1. I'm not an opera fan, but I'd go to this. It does sound like an opera plot . . . desolation and despair and loss.

    Posted by: Rikon Snow | Jan 26, 2014 8:34:35 PM

  2. This is a god_amn b_tch of an unsatisfactory situation that I won't be able to see this in person.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Jan 26, 2014 8:55:36 PM

  3. This movie worked in part because we saw the cowboys in their natural environment, the great open outdoors, with a cinematic backdrop of majestic mountains and streams and rolling meadows. Placing them on an artistic theater stage -- the polar opposite of the simple natural outdoors, seems a mistake. This seems as wrong-headed as making the Bret Easton Ellis novel "American Psycho" into a London & Broadway musical (it opened in London this year).

    Posted by: will | Jan 26, 2014 9:15:55 PM

  4. I have been wanting to go to Spain . . .

    Posted by: Alan | Jan 26, 2014 9:21:08 PM

  5. Right, Will because, Opera, the act of performing a dramatic work with an accompanying musical score, just doesn't work indoors. It's a known fact and the sole reason for the failure of the opera industry, world-wide. It's a shame they've been trying to push this notion since the 16th century. You would think they would have given up by now.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Jan 26, 2014 9:59:56 PM

  6. Just be warned that the composer's music tends to be VERY dissonant. Not for everyone.

    Posted by: TomTallis | Jan 26, 2014 10:10:44 PM

  7. I did not say OPERA was a bad idea. I said opera seems a bad idea for "Brokeback Mountain" -- just like it might be a bad idea for an opera of "The Exorcist" or "Zero Dark Thirty".

    Posted by: will | Jan 26, 2014 10:19:13 PM

  8. @Will

    Comment directed at your notion that an Opera would fail because the natural outdoor setting could not be replicated indoor, on a stage, not your opinion of Opera in general.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Jan 26, 2014 10:28:03 PM

  9. I dunno. Opera seems pretty ill-suited to characters whose hallmark is that they suffer in silence.

    Posted by: JJ | Jan 26, 2014 10:58:57 PM

  10. I have a friend in the production. He's been tweeting pics from rehearsals. I haven't heard the music, but the production pics look very promising.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Jan 27, 2014 12:45:09 AM

  11. Mark Twain on Wagner: the music was better than it sounds. How's the music in this one? There really hasn't been an opera added to the standard repertoire since the 30's. The only contemporary opera people might have heard of is Glass's Einstein on the Beach, and that was 40 years ago now.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 27, 2014 2:33:00 AM

  12. "Just be warned that the composer's music tends to be VERY dissonant. Not for everyone"

    Have you heard his other opera, "Haroun and the Sea of Stories"? It's not fake Puccini like so many American operas are, but it's not Stockhausen either. His style has changed since the 60's and his "only losers use tonality" stance.

    "There really hasn't been an opera added to the standard repertoire since the 30's"

    That's simply not true. You have heard of Benjamin Britten? At least 5 of his operas are done multiple times every season all over the world. There's others, but I don't have the time to research them. Sometimes, it's a regional thing: in Germany, Reimann's "Lear" (premiere 1978) is done all the time, outside not so much.

    I don't care about the "standard rep", I could gladly live out my life by not hearing a note of the opera Top 40, since I have zero interest in 19th century Italian opera or the baroque or classical eras. I'm one of those that think that opera begins with Debussy and "Pelleas et Melisande".

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Jan 27, 2014 10:32:18 AM

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