Brokeback Mountain- the powerful legacy of a novel

By | Entertainment
Proulx and Wuorinen credit@ Javier del Real

The story of the legendary mountain returned to the media space as powerful as its
first publication in The New Yorker in 1997. The author Annie Proulx has hardly ever hoped that her short story will become a revolutionary tool for many sympathizing to LGBT people internationally.

Proulx’s short story recounts the illicit love affair between ranch hand Ennis del Mar and
rodeo cowboy Jack Twist on Wyoming’s fictional Brokeback Mountain in 1963. Proulx’s tale, which originally premiered in The New Yorker, was given a film adaptation in 2005 starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal.

After inspiring the Oscar-Winning Hollywood production named after the novel ‘Brokeback Mountain’, the story is now being taken over by the composer Charles Wuorinen. He has written an operatic adaptation of ‘Brokeback Mountain’ under the direction of Gerard Mortier, director of the Teatro Real in Madrid having the world premier set for January 28, 2014.

Yes, that’s right, a cowboy character story in Spain. Being only the second non-Spanish administrator of the theatre in the last 160 years, Gerard Mortier took the American Dream with him when leaving New York.

Brokeback Mountain@credit indepandentmanviacreativecommon

Brokeback Mountain@credit indepandentmanviacreativecommon

The story written in the past century about males falling in love in a
situation which was morally new to society’s norm, is yet a contemporary
issue and this collaboration hopes to push further towards a more tolerant society. “Ever since encountering Annie Proulx’s extraordinary story I have wanted to make an opera on it”, Wuorinen is quoted as saying in a press release issued by City Opera.

The American story crossed over Europe taking another transformation to reach out to its audience. The opera is expected, whilst entertaining, to continue  spreading the idea of equal human rights across for gay LGBT people. The fiction has turned into a symbol of this simply forbidden kind of relations among our society, showing that even a standard male to female marriage could be over flown by such affair.

The success of the Ang Lee’s film in 2005, that gained popularity among all genders of the cinematic audience, was acknowledged as solid support by LGBT organizations and activists, indicated the high need of such straight forward explanation that this romantic drama has offered.

This is more than a simple gay love story, it is a representation of a normal love story happened to feature a same-sex couple. Wuorinen adds “Opera should deploy the full resources of musical composition and not be restricted to any kind of model, including a model of what is lyric singing,”. Just like the society should break the frames laid by any artificial stereotypes.

Over the years that the novel has been reproduced only a few times in different genres, unprecedented and rapid changes in the attitudes to gay people took place. The Supreme Court in the U.S. substantially advanced the right of same-sex couples to marry. The appeal of this story is about the victory of all human beings to freely express their sexuality.

The American composer is determined to get as close as possible in reproducing what was created in the authors mind. For the opera, the crew travelled to Wyoming to film the actual mountains that inspired the story, which will be used as a background to the plays. The libretto of the opera is written by Annie Proulx herself. The premier runs until 11 February at Madrid’s Teatro Real.

How easy is it to become attracted to someone of the same-sex in anextreme situation of survival?


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