Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Reading Lolita as an Aria, and How Your Favorite Book Can be Next, a Prelude to Our Florentine Preview on Wed. 2/16, 7 pm.

Reading Lolita in Tehran as an opera? Yes, it's true. A University of Maryland doctoral student and composer Elisabeth Mehl Greene have put together a work that makes its way through The Great Gatsby, 1984, and yes, Lolita, according to a recent piece in the Washington Post. The performance is this Friday, February 18th, at College Park, and the memoir's author Azar Nafisi, will be on hand to take questions. More info here on this free event.

And Anchee Min's books have been made into not one, but at least two operas, per the Los Angeles Times. Her memoir Red Azalea was turned into an opera by William Kraft, while her novel Becoming Madame Mao was turned into the opera "Madame Mao" by Bright Sheng. If you are wondering why Min's work seems to attractive to composers, you should visit us for our event with Min on Wednesday, April 13th, at 7 pm for her most recent novel, Pearl of China, releasing shortly in paperback.

That's nothing, the unnamed Wikipedia correspondant claims that Victor Hugo's work is the source of more than 100 works, including "Lucrezia Borgia" and "Rigoletto." And some would say the Broadway musical "Les Miserables" is pretty much an opera, and there's certainly a book involved in that too.

It goes on. Here's the New York Times piece on Sophie's Choice, and Carnegie Mellon's student newspaper reports on an operatic version of The Grapes of Wrath. It's hard to imagine that someone isn't working on an opera version of Ann Patchett's Bel Canto, if there isn't one already. I'm pushing for Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge. Seems grand enough!

So I discuss this just before we host our preview for the Florentine Opera's "The Italian Girl in Algiers", a Rossini opera that is not adapted from a literary work. But them's the breaks when your hook is the opera version of Reading Lolita in Tehran.

Have you been to our Florentine Opera Insights? The events are wonderful, with an wonderful talk from professor emeritus Corliss Phillabaum and wonderful singing from the Florentine Opera Studio, pictured above, who are:
Erica Schuller, soprano
Julia Elise Hardin, mezzo soprano
Matthew Richardson, tenor
Scott Johnson, baritone.

Our event is Wednesday, February 16th, 7 pm. Tickets are on sale for "The Italian Girl in Algiers for the shows on March 18, 19 and 20th. Get tickets here.

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