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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

On the stage to Brokeback Mountain

Annie Proulx’ tragic story Brokeback Mountain about discrimination is to have its world premiere as an opera at the Teatro Real in Madrid from today until February 11.

Wyoming Stories, collected 1999

Proulx agreed to composer Charles Wuorinen’s project on the understanding that she could write the libretto. Gerard Mortier, the newly appointed general director of the New York City Opera got wind of this and commissioned the work and, when he suddenly left in 2008, took it with him to Madrid. Wuorinen began work on the opera in 2008 and completed it February 2012. The opera’s two acts are performed without an intermission.

Both author and composer wanted to emphasise the sense of threat and danger which seemed mitigated by the lush landscape scenes of the film.  Wuorinen visited Wyoming and says, ‘The mountains of Wyoming are very dangerous. People die, and so do animals, and the weather can turn violent all of a sudden.’ Yet he adds that the mountains also represent freedom for the characters.

The stage director, Belgian Ivo van Hove believes the opera will put a spotlight on places where being different is still cause for persecution. He quotes India, Russia, for example.
Jack Twist is played by tenor Tom Randle and Ennis Del Mar is baritone Daniel Okulitch.

Condensed from an article in El Pais, ‘Singing cowboys on the Madrid stage’ by Daniel Verdú.


Neil Waring said...

A few years ago I spent an enjoyable afternoon talking with Anne. This is not my favorite work of hers, that would be the, Shipping News, but always glad to see her many successes.

Nik said...

Thanks for sharing that, Neil. Seems like an accomplished lady, so I envy you that afternoon's talk!