Turnage: Anna Nicole takes the stage in London(December 2010)
The new operatic collaboration between Mark-Anthony Turnage and Richard Thomas, examining the rise and fall of the glamour model Anna Nicole Smith, opens at The Royal Opera in London on 17 February.
Mark-Anthony Turnage’s new opera Anna Nicole, created with librettist Richard Thomas of Jerry Springer: the Opera fame and receiving its first performances in February, not only takes a humorous swipe at celebrity culture but also explores the human issues behind the headlines. The work was commissioned by The Royal Opera in London and Antonio Pappano conducts the premiere staging by Richard Jones, which opens on 17 February.
The new opera examines the high-profile lifestyle of the American glamour model and actress Anna Nicole Smith (1967-2007). She became a paparazzi target when she married a billionaire oilman 60 years her senior, fought his family over the will and died after an apparent drug overdose at the age of 39. Despite her iconic status during the tabloid ’90s - representing that decade’s lurid obsessions and celebrity ambitions – there is also a tragic personal story to be told.
Anna Nicole is Turnage’s third full-length opera, following Greek (1988) and The Silver Tassie (2000), and inhabits a new world for the composer, closer to musical theatre with its focus on words and action. Though much of the libretto is wry and satirical, demanding fast paced and immediate music, the impending tragedy also allows Turnage to employ his darker vein. The cast assembled for Anna Nicole includes Eva-Maria Westbroek in the title role, Susan Bickley as her mother Virgie, Gerald Finley as her lawyer Stern and Alan Oke as the oilman Marshall.
Turnage's music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, the composer having joined the company's roster in 2003. Turnage's 50th birthday is celebrated in 2010.
Anna Nicole (2008-10)
Opera in two acts
Royal Opera House London
17 February 2011 (world premiere)
Composer: Mark-Anthony Turnage
Librettist: Richard Thomas
Conductor: Antonio Pappano
Director: Richard Jones
Set designs: Miriam Buether
Costume Designs: Nicky Gillibrand
Lighting design: Mimi Jordan Sherin
Choreographer: Aletta Collins
Anna Nicole: Eva-Maria Westbroek
Old Man Marshall: Alan Oke
The Lawyer Stern: Gerald Finley
Virgie: Susan Bickley
Cousin Shelley: Loré Lixenberg
Larry King: Peter Hoare
Aunt Kay: Rebecca de Pont Davies
> Royal Opera House
> Further information on Work: Anna Nicole
Photo: Philip Gatward
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