City Opera Vancouver to stage chamber-opera version of Brokeback Mountain
City Opera Vancouver has secured the rights to the world premiere of the chamber-opera version of Brokeback Mountain, the famed same-sex love story originally penned by author Annie Proulx that became an Academy Award–winning film directed by Ang Lee and starring the late Heath Ledger. The large-scale version of the work is due to premiere at Teatro Real in Madrid around January 2014, and COV is to produce the chamber-version premiere one year later. Composer Charles Wuorinen has signed a letter of intent with COV, agreeing that he will create a chamber version of the work he’s developing based on a libretto written by Proulx herself.
“What we have are the rights, and that’s huge,” said COV artistic director Charles Barber. “Wuorinen has agreed to rescore it for our forces, which will be 15 in the pit, but everything else will be otherwise identical, because it is all along a small and intimate story.”¦The central roles are Ennis, who is a bass baritone, and Jack, who is a tenor, and their wives.”
COV is also working toward a 2013 world premiere of the opera Pauline, written by Christos Hatzis with a libretto by Margaret Atwood, and is developing an opera based on the real-life story of U.S. Marine Corps sergeant Christian Ellis at the Battle of Fallujah in 2004, funded with a US$250,000 grant from the Annenberg Foundation. Barber said the only issue facing the company is finding a space in which to present its productions.
“There is not one theatre in Vancouver proper that could accommodate us,” he said. “Finding the right place to produce Pauline and the Annenberg project and Brokeback is our most serious problem.”¦It’s damn hard to produce opera unless you have an opera house.”