Brokeback Mountain, the Opera

The New York Daily News reports that:

Five years from now, we’ll not be able to quit those boys all over again.

The New York City Opera has commissioned an opera based on “Brokeback Mountain,” the Annie Proulx short story that became the basis for the 2005 Oscar-winning movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger.

“Ever since encountering Annie Proulx’s extraordinary story I have wanted to make an opera on it,” Wuorinen said in a statement.

A great idea for a great film, and though it’s unfortunate and perhaps crass to say, Heath’s passing only intensifies the tragedy of it all.

  • RichardA

    Opera glasses. High powered opera glasses.

  • Kelly

    I’ve thought it would make a great stage adaptation for either an opera or musical. Hmmmm… I should try to get tickets. But don’t put too many eggs in one basket. NYCO is going through some financial woes (so I’ve heard) and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was put aside very soon.

    Anyways, it might be really great. The adaptation for Kiss of the Spider Woman to the Broadway stage was great… I guess that could be a fair comparison.

  • Paddy M


    Musical theatre and opera are all about expressing emotion in the simplest, most blunt ways. The very essence of opera, the very thing which makes it work for composer, for performer and for audience is that every emotion of every character is detailed so strongly on the stage. It is melodramatic; Brokeback Mountain was all about the repressed emotions, the things which went unsaid, the immense subtleties which are only perceivable on paper or on film.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not dissing opera or the stage; I’m a musician and I love opera, and I’m an actor and I think the stage is wonderful. But Brokeback Mountain is not epic in the sense that, say, Citizen Kane or even The Godfather are.

    As long as the libretto is both faithful and appropriate, and the composer is chosen wisely (and the performers are as good at acting as they are at ainging – often a concern in opera), this ought to be great. But I can’t see the team behind this adaptation bettering the film or the short story. And where the material doesn’t seem wholly suitable for the chosen medium for the adaptation, isn’t the main purpose of adapting something TO BETTER IT?

    I keep an open mind…

  • Tufas

    Hmm this reminds me. Rufus Wainwright is on record for wanting to do an opera… get him!

  • Rob Wills

    No. I’ll wait for Crash the Opera. But thank you.

  • Ryan Adams

    Rob, As I recall it was more like, “Crash, the Oprah.”

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