This evening, the story of Anna Nicole Smith makes its North American debut – in operatic form. Fittingly, the New York City Opera production premieres at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Brooklyn, arguably the world’s most influential borough, shares with Anna Nicole a trademark boldness that powerfully attracts and repels (but always retains its mystique).
Anna Nicole’s composer and librettist (Mark-Anthony Turnage and Richard Thomas) comment intuitively on the ways in which aspiration has transformed, alongside the rise of reality TV. Their version of Smith’s life story unfolds set to a jazzy score, instead of frozen in the pages of tabloids. It holds long-range potential to blur lines in the artistic hierarchy and advance art and culture in the 21st Century. We wonder: will Anna Nicole have the same effect on ticket sales that Anna Nicole does on newsstand sales?
Will Anna Nicole entice new audiences into seats at BAM, and if so, will this success encourage other creators to merge divergent cultural forms?
Will productions like Anna Nicole alter the urban creative landscape?
Catalyst will explore these questions in-depth, as part of an upcoming feature. In the meantime, we’d love to know what you think. Please comment below.