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Opera & Musical Theater

Opera Cheat Sheet: Opera As Literary Adaptation

A look at turning novels and plays into operas ahead of Saturday’s noon broadcast of Bel Canto.



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Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2015 world premiere production of Bel Canto
Photo by Andrew Cioffi, Lyric Opera of Chicago
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2015 world premiere production of Bel Canto

In this week's OCS, Houston Public Media's St.John Flynn and Eric Skelly of ROCO look at the seemingly recent phenomenon of turning great books into operas (think Moby Dick, Little Women, Thérèse Raquin, and Cold Sassy Tree to name just a few). As they point out, while many of the most successful late 20th- and early 21st-century operas may derive from well-known books, this is by no means something new. In fact, it would be difficult to find many operas that do NOT have literary antecedents.

Tune in to HPM Classical (88.7 HD2, online and via the HPM Classical app) Saturday at noon for just such a recent adaptation, Lyric Opera of Chicago's world première broadcast of Jimmy Lopez's Bel Canto based on the 2001 award-winning Ann Patchett novel of the same name.