Wuorinen : Brokeback Mountain

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Brokeback Mountain, a modern opera by Charles Wuorinen after Annie Proulx’s novel, previously adapted by Ang Lee for the Oscar-winning movie. Filmed during its world premiere at Teatro Real – Madrid.

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Wuorinen : Brokeback Mountain

A modern Opera adaptation by Charles Wuorinen based on Annie Proulx’s short sorty previously adaptated by Ang Lee for the Oscar-winning film Brokeback Mountain.

Brokeback Mountain marks Wuorinen’s return to the opera stage with one of the major works of his career, equally ambitious in its beauty and momentous tragedy. Brokeback is the story of ranch hand Ennis del Mar and rodeo cowboy Jack Twist, two young men who meet and fall in love on the fictional Brokeback Mountain in Wyoming in 1963. Wuorinen says “It’s a story of doomed love, in this case a complex homosexual relationship taking place in a very homophobic society.”

In a decidedly different approach than the film adaptation, Wuorinen creates a grittier atmosphere. The story and characters have been tightly condensed by Proulx. In reference to the genesis of the story Proulx has written “‘Brokeback’ was constructed on the small but tight idea of a couple of home-grown country kids, opinions and self-knowledge shaped by the world around them, finding themselves in emotional waters of increasing depth. I wanted to develop the story through a kind of literary sostenente.”

In approaching the work for the stage Wuorinen writes “The music of Brokeback Mountain conveys the harsh magnificence of the Mountain where the protagonists first meet. Visiting Annie in Wyoming, seeing the land where the story is set and the characters shaped was invaluable, and it made a deep impression on me. Sometimes the score evokes the icy clarity of the high-altitude freedom the characters enjoy there. But the Mountain also breathes and storms, and the music projects this turbulence as well – especially when it transfers into the interior lives of the characters and their interactions in the human world. And the tragedy of the two principals, their doomed love, calls forth the most lyrical flights in the score.”

With bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch and tenor Tom Randle. Staged by Ivo van Hove and conducted by Titus Engel.


Wuorinen : Brokeback Mountain [DVD & Blu-ray]

Opera in 2 acts and 22 scenes

Music : Charles Wuorinen (*1938)

Libretto : Annie Proulx after her own short-story

Ennis del Mar Daniel Okulitch
Jack Twist Tom Randle
Alma Heather Buck
Lureen Hannah Esther Minutillo
Aguirre/Hog-Boy Ethan Herschenfeld
Alma’s mother Celia Alcedo
Jack’s mother Jane Henschel
Jack’s father Ryan Macpherson
Bartender Hilary Summers
Saleswoman Letitia Singleton
Cowboy Gaizka Gurruchaga
Bill Jones Vasco Fracanzani

Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Real – Madrid

Conductor : Titus Engel

Stage direction : Ivo Van Hove

Sets and lighting design : Jan Versweyveld
Costumes : Wojciech Dziedzic
Video : Tal Yarden
Dramaturgy : Jan Vandenhouwe
Chorus master : Andrés Máspero

Image gallery

‘’Daniel Okulitch as Ennis and Tom Randle as Jack do manage to create real characters.’’ – The Guardian

“The opera by Wuorinen and Proulx is admirable’”
“Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulich offered a well-judged, multi-layered portrait of Ennis, troubled, hardworking and conservative; Okulitch used his beautiful, mellow voice with genuine feeling, especially in the impressive final monologue.” 
-  Opera News

“A serious work, an impressive achievement.”
 – The New York Times

“The work is a serious and powerful tragedy, about love as a universal portrait of thwarted human relationships.” – The Telegraph

“Charles Wuorinen’s opera gets closer to the hearts of the characters than Ang Lee’s film” – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Technical informations

HD recording : Teatro Real – Madrid | 02/2014
TV direction : Jérémie Cuvillier
Release date : 24 February 2015
Distribution : Naxos Distribution

: BAC111
Barcode : 376011530115
Running time : 150 min.
Film : 130 min.
Bonus : Interview with the artists (20 min.)
Booklet : FR / ENG / SPA
Subtitles : FR / ENG / SPA
Image : Color, 16/9, NTSC
Sound : PCM 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1
Region code : 0

Reference : BAC411
Barcode : 3760115304116
Running time : 150 min.
Film : 130 min.
Bonus : Interview with the artists (20 min.)
Booklet : FR / ENG / SPA
Subtitles : FR / ENG / SPA
Image : Color, 16/9, Full HD
Sound : PCM 2.0, DTS HD Master audio 5.1
Region code : A, B, C

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