Thursday, November 10, 2016

Annie Proulx - Charles Wuorinen - Brokeback Mountain the Opera

The shirt seemed heavy until he saw there was another shirt inside it, the sleeves carefully worked down inside Jack’s sleeves. It was his own plaid shirt, lost, he’d thought, long ago in some damn laundry, his dirty shirt, the pocket ripped, buttons missing, stolen by Jack and hidden here inside Jack’s own shirt, the pair like two skins, one inside the other, two in one. He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands.

A friend sent me the DVD of Charles Wuorinen's opera on Annie Proulx's liberetto of Brokeback Mountain to cheer me up.   I just listened to it and I have to say it has everything to love about it that the movie lacked.  The intensity of the music, the acting, the set and everything are without an ounce of sentimentality to dilute the heartbreaking story.   The postcard scene is about the saddest thing I've ever seen in any kind of theater or movie or opera.   It is a real masterpiece.  I can't say that it cheered me up but it is wonderful and a great, great work.    I might write about it more later.

Update:  This is interesting, Proulx talking about how she first came up with the idea for the story.  I'd never heard that before.

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