The co-creator of Jerry Springer The Opera is to write a new opera based on the controversial life of American glamour model Anna Nicole Smith, who died in 2007 aged 39.
Richard Thomas is teaming up with composer Mark-Anthony Turnage for Anna Nicole, which will premiere at the Royal Opera House on 17 February 2011, directed by Richard Jones, with Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek conducted in the title role by Antonio Pappano.
Anna Nicole is one highlight in the Royal Opera’s 2010/11 season that also includes a new production of Adriana Lecouvreur, Cilea’s opera about another prominent young woman who met an early grave.
Other highlights include the UK premiere of Niobe, a rare work by Agostino Steffani, as well as new productions of Wagner’s Tannhauser, Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride and Massenet’s version of the Cinderella story.
Royal Opera stars including Amanda Roocroft, Angela Gheorghiu, Bryn Terfel, Christine Rice and Simon Keenlyside are among those making appearances in the season’s 14 revivals, including Peter Grimes, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Aida and Don Pasquale.
In the Linbury Studio, director Katie Mitchell returns to direct a new ROH2 commission by James MacMillan, whose opera Parthenogenesis she directed in 2009.
Looking further ahead, the Royal Opera has announced details of a new co-commission planned for the lead up to the 2012 Olympic Games. Miss Fortune, a new opera by British composer Judith Weir, will play at the Royal Opera House in March 2012 following its premiere at the Bregenz Festival in July 2011. Weir’s opera is a contemporary take on a Sicilian folk tale, telling the story of a young woman struggling to exist while fate throws every misfortune at her.
Miss Fortune will be directed by Shi-Zheng Chen, who directed Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn’s successful debut opera Monkey: Journey To The West.