Charles Wuorinen, who turns seventy today, has been commissioned by New York City Opera to compose an opera based on Annie Proulx’s short story Brokeback Mountain. It is scheduled to be produced in 2013.

Happy Birthday CW!

13 thoughts on “Brokeback Mountain a go….”
  1. Alan, I agree that Carter’s late song cycle Tempo e Tempi is wonderful.

    I also was very sad that I just missed the Berlin State Opera’s, under Daniel Barenboim’s direction, full evening performances — in that city’s Apollo Salle — of A Mirror On Which To Dwell followed by Syringa and In sleep In thunder — about an hour of the most powerfully moving vocal music composed by an American, or any, composer in the 20th century.

    Perhaps the Washington NATIONAL Opera, still searching for an American opera to program next season (and every season) — as promised to Congress and the American people when the company was allowed to add NATIONAL to its title — will invite Mr Barenboim to lead the Carter trilogy [or tetralogy] of song cycles at the Kennedy Center.

    (This season the Washington NATIONAL Opera closed with a concert version of Pietro Mascagni ‘Cavalier Rusticana’; and next season will include our NATIONAL opera company performing Rossini’s ‘Petite Messe Solennelle’ with Andrea Bocelli in lieu of an American opera.)

  2. I agree with Zeno – I wasn’t a huge fan of Carter’s opera.

    I do, however, think his late song cycle Tempo e Tempi is wonderful!

  3. Process Too Complicated To Explain, apparently.

    With all due respect, I also don’t believe that Elliott Carter was made for opera, but I would not say the same for Roger Sessions, William Grant Still, Leon Kirchner, and several other American composers. (I just missed seeing Wuorinen’s Haroun and didn’t catch Brokeback …)

    Does anyone have any insider knowledge as to whether Orwell, Maazel, J.D. McClatchy, and Thomas Meehan’s 1984 is going to be presented at the MET, the NYCO, or the Washington National Opera? I see that the DVD has now been released over the ocean.

  4. Wuorinen’s Haroun was not good–and the P2C2E-schtick was even a little embarrassing! The audience was pretty light the night I was there, too., How does this add up to getting another commission from NYCO? If you’re big enough, and you can get the rights to a famous movie, I suppose the sky’s the limit.

    P.S. Don’t mean to be a grouch, but Brokeback is WAYYYY overrated. Let’s hope Wuorinen skips the eyebrow-raising sheep montages…

    P.S.S. His 4th piano concerto and concerto for amplified violin are great. Don’t get me wrong, I just don’t think this guy was made for opera.

  5. I don’t think that I would have ever thought of Wuorinen as an opera composer, but here he is! My wife has observed that writing for voice seems to make 12-tone/serial composers think very linearly, and it produces exquisite results.

    Bravo, CW!!!

  6. I actually listened to about a minute of Wuorinen yesterday on AOL Contemporary Classical radio. Then it started sounding like Wuorinen… Leptron? I think it was… pretty nice for that one bit though. Had a cat on the cover.

  7. Congratulations to Mr Wuorinen on this important commission. Do you know whether he will be his own librettist on this project, unlike for the Salman Rushdie Haroun and the Sea of Stories NYCO commission? (In fact, I don’t see James Fenton’s name mentioned — inexplicably — in the NYCO Press Release, at all.)

    I also look foward to many other 75 year old (and 100 year old and 30 year old) American composers and librettists receiving commissions from the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Washington National Opera, …

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