Thursday, June 12, 2008

Brokeback Mountain, The Opera

The American composer Charles Wuorinen has been commissioned by the New York City Opera to compose an opera based on Annie Proulx’s renowned short story Brokeback Mountain. The story made into a popular and controversial award winning film by Taiwanese director Ang Lee in 2005, famously tracks the complex relationship of ranch hand Ennis del Mar and rodeo cowboy Jack Twist, over 20 years after the two young men meet and fall in love on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming in 1963.

Currently slated to premiere during City Opera’s 2013 spring season, this work will mark Wuorinen’s second world premiere at City Opera; his Haroun and the Sea of Stories, an adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s colorful novel, had its world premiere at New York City Opera on October 4, 2004.

Wuorinen said, “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, who celebrated his 70th birthday this week, is a native New Yorker, who has been a major presence on the American contemporary music scene for more than four decades. His many honors include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and a Pulitzer Prize, for his electronic work Time's Encomium in 1970, when he became the youngest composer ever to receive this award.

Wuorinen's compositions encompass every form and medium, including works for orchestra, band, chamber ensemble, chorus, keyboard, percussion, and electronics, as well as ballets and operas. He has been described as a "maximalist," writing music luxuriant with events, lyrical and expressive, strikingly dramatic. His works are characterized by powerful harmonies and elegant craftsmanship, offering at once a link to the music of the past and a vision of a rich musical future.

Brokeback Mountain on Wikipedia
New York City Opera

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