Charles Wuorinen Brokeback Mountain opera to a libretto by Annie Proulx. Staged 2014 by Ivo Van Hove at the Teatro Real. Stars Daniel Okulitch (Ennis del Mar), Tom Randle (Jack Twist), Heather Buck (Alma), Hannah Esther Minutillo (Lureen), Ethan Herschenfeld (Aguirre/Hog-Boy), Celia Alcedo (Alma's mother), Jane Henschel (Jack's mother), Ryan MacPherson (Jack's father), Hilary Summers (Bartender), Letitia Singleton (Saleswoman), Gaizka Gurruchaga (Cowboy), and Vasco Fracanzani (Bill Jones). Titus Engel conducts the Orchestra & Chorus Teatro Real de Madrid. Released 2015, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio. Grade: Help!
Annie Proulx wrote the original short story of Brokeback Mountain. The 2007 movie version was apparently more lyrical than the story. When Proulx was recruited to write the libretto for the opera, it was understood that the opera would as tough and acerbic as the literature from which it sprang and the landscape in which it is set. Print critics such as Phillip Kennicott (July 2015 Gramophone at page 90) and Joshua Rosenblum (August 2015 Opera News at page 54) give you fair warning about the effort it will take to appreciate this work. But their reviews also suggest that this Brokeback already is an essential title for anyone who follows contemporary opera. Congratulation to Teatro Real Madrid for getting the scoop on this.
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