Brokeback Mountain started life as a great but very short story by Annie Proulx, before becoming an Oscar winning movie starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, two young men hired to look after sheep who start a years long love affair.
Now the tale’s moving to another medium, as BroadwayWorld.com reports that it’s set to open as an opera in Madrid later this month. Charles Wuorinen is the composer, with Proulx returning to her own story by working on the libretto.
It’s doesn’t directly ape either the movie of the original short story, as the opera is described as ‘grittier’ than the film, with tighter characterisation, as well as thee addition of a ghost and a chorus. Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch takes on the role of Ennis, while American tenor Tom Randle is Jack.
The openly gay Wuorinen describes it as, “A story of doomed love, in this case a complex homosexual relationship taking place in a very homophobic society.”
Broadwayworld seems fairly impressed with the music, saying the “Score evokes the mountains with its swells and strains, bringing to life the harshly imposing Wyoming landscape from which the story was born.”
The opera was originally meant to be first staged in America, as it was commissioned by the New York City Opera, which was well known for producing new works with popular culture interest, such as opera based on Where The Wild Things Are, as well one about the life of Anne Nicole Smith. However that organisation is now defunct, and when the company’s director, Gerard Mortier, resigned, he took Brokeback Mountain to the Teatro Real in Madrid. It will now premiere there on January 28th.