Brokeback Mountain | News | Opera

Watch a Free, Live Webcast of the New 'Brokeback Mountain' Opera


This week we reported that a new opera based on the classic Annie Proulx short story and film Brokeback Mountain opened in Madrid. Now, you'll be able to see it:

Medici.TV 3_brokebackwill present a free, live webcast of the world premiere production of Charles Wuorinen’s new opera, "Brokeback Mountain," from Madrid’s Teatro Real on Friday, February 7 at 2pm (EST).

The American composer, whose honors include both a Pulitzer Prize and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant, based his opera on the short story of the same name by his fellow Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Proulx, who wrote the libretto herself. Starring Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch and American tenor Tom Randle as closeted ranch hands Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist, Madrid’s world premiere production is directed by Ivo van Hove, general director of the Toneelgroep in Amsterdam, under the leadership of conductor Titus Engel.

The live webcast will be available for free streaming on demand for 90 days, beginning on February 7. You can also watch concerts on the iPhone with the free App.

Watch some video clips of the opera, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. As a big fan of that movie and of opera, I have a hard time seeing this translating well. But the team behind it seems solid. A minor quibble--it seems odd that they'd have what seem to be black boxer briefs/briefs in the motel scene. Maybe Jack Twist would, but it's hard to imagine a poor ranch hand (Ennis) buying anything other than cheap tighty whities.

    Posted by: Bryan | Jan 28, 2014 1:41:08 PM

  2. Bryan makes a good suspension of disbelief argument. My guess is that, under the spotlights, tighty whiteys may reveal too much... Silly an argument as that is. Charles Wuorinen is one of the most respected living composers in America, but his music is hardly easy on the ears. For anyone expecting Applachian Spring with words, you'll not want to tune in. I'm most worried that the music will seem too much at odds with the story, a rural forbidden love story - I'm concerned that the New-Complexity style musical setting will seem utterly incongruous.

    Posted by: P | Jan 28, 2014 1:47:10 PM

  3. Not everything can be an opera!

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jan 28, 2014 2:06:12 PM

  4. & here's some rare footage of the composer as a young man:

    Posted by: Alex Gildzen | Jan 28, 2014 2:25:46 PM

  5. My reservation about this project has always been that Brokeback Mountain is about two men who do NOT express their feelings often or well; they're not emotionally articulate men. An opera could work if the orchestra expressed what Jack and Ennis can't say aloud, or if they're verbalizing their inner thoughts. But they can't get too expressive in what they sing to one another, and that's usually what opera as a form excels at.

    Posted by: Profe Sancho Panza | Jan 28, 2014 2:40:01 PM

  6. Operas are full of soliloquies. So this might just work.

    Posted by: Pervy McPerv | Jan 28, 2014 2:48:52 PM

  7. Can't wait to see/hear this. I'm not a big fan of Wuorinen's music but it may just work, considering the locale and subject matter. As long as audiences don't expect 'Il Fanciullo del West'

    Posted by: hugo | Jan 28, 2014 3:11:34 PM

  8. Saw clips in the news (it was a main cultural news in my country's main news, outside Spain!) and it is very modern and may not be liked by as many as traditional operas. It sounded interesting.

    Posted by: Matt27 | Jan 28, 2014 3:39:53 PM

  9. Much as I adore and admire the film, and the brilliant work by Ledger and Gyllenhall, these guys match up a little closer with the short story's description of the characters, especially Jack.

    Posted by: Dback | Jan 28, 2014 3:58:47 PM

  10. The rare opera whose plot makes sense.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 28, 2014 5:03:35 PM

  11. I'm really curious about how this is going to play as an opera. The two leads do look like the characters in the story- when are we getting a USA premiere?

    Posted by: jarago | Jan 28, 2014 5:52:23 PM

  12. Jarago, there's no US premiere yet, the only other production so far is in Aachen, Germany in December 2014. If the opera is a success in Madrid, other productions will follow. If that ticket to Germany! :-)

    I'm wary of a backlash against this because it doesn't sound like warmed-over Copland like so many American operas do, people might go in expecting that and they get Wuorinen's dissonant style.

    I liked his previous opera "Haroun and the Sea of Stories", his style has certainly changed since the 60's and 70's.

    In any case, nice to see a modern opera get this amount of attention, from the clips it certainly looks interesting.

    Posted by: Henry Holland | Jan 28, 2014 7:14:12 PM

  13. "The gay Bridges of Madison County" aka Brokeback Mountain was a short story written by a woman who offered a one-dimensional portrayal of these two men in love, which was translated to the big screen without much effort. That said, adapting it into the musical theater medium seems a better idea now than translating it into film; as a song can fill the gaps where the weak story had to be deflected from with some outstanding photography and score. Good luck to them.

    Posted by: stranded | Jan 28, 2014 8:13:17 PM

  14. I think its great that they're broadcasting it live/for free - I just wish it weren't at 2 in the afternoon.

    It opened tonight in Madrid - will be interesting to see the reviews.

    Posted by: Alan | Jan 28, 2014 8:56:17 PM

  15. Sorry, just can't imagine wanting to see this. Or hear it.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jan 29, 2014 8:54:56 AM

  16. Thank you for posting this. I just downloaded the app and will be watching!

    Posted by: Jim | Jan 29, 2014 10:21:50 AM

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