Stephen King's Novel "The Shining" To Be Made Into An Opera

Written By The Wagnerian on Friday, 20 September 2013 | 7:45:00 pm

We have to admit a guilty secret, some of us are Stephen King fans. We are also Stanley Kubrick fans (even if King was not necessarily a fan of Kubrick's adaption of his novel - especially the manner in which "Wendy" is portrayed) So, it was with some surprise when we discovered that Minnesota Opera had commissioned an adaptation of King's novel The Shining

Must admit having never been to Minnesota. Well, there's a first time for everything. A story of addiction, suppressed rage (and a fear of unleashing it), death of the creative process and isolation have all the ingredients of a successful opera  Details below.


Minnesota Opera announces its commission of The Shining, a new opera by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell, based on the 1977 best-selling novel by Stephen King. Minnesota Opera will give The Shining its world premiere in May 2016 at Ordway in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The Shining is the iconic supernatural horror novel that helped establish Stephen King as the genre’s definitive voice. In the story, Jack Torrance moves his wife Wendy and son Danny to the remote Overlook Hotel in Colorado, where he has been hired as winter caretaker. The family endeavors to remain together in spite of their growing isolation from the world, the hotel’s paranormal activity and Jack’s abusive nature, alcoholism and growing madness.

“It is tremendously exciting to have received Stephen King’s permission to adapt The Shining into an opera,” said Artistic Director Dale Johnson. “Opera has the unique ability to amplify a story’s emotions, and by putting one of the most powerfully imagined stories of our time into the hands of Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell, I have no doubt The Shining will be an intensely thrilling horror opera.”

Paul Moravec, a prolific composer whose music has been described as “highly engrossing” and “remarkably accessible,” considers The Shining a perfect fit for the art form. “King’s novel is naturally operatic: it sings,” said Moravec. “It features the classic elements of operatic conflict, notably the power of love in the face of extraordinary evil and destructive forces. It’s a joy to imagine the musical form of this timeless contest, along with the story’s evocation of terror and the supernatural.”

A film based on King’s novel, directed by Stanley Kubrick, was released in 1980, and in 1997, Mr. King adapted his book into a television mini-series. Minnesota Opera’s commission is the work’s first adaptation for the stage. Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining that follows the middle-aged Danny Torrance into another epic battle of good against evil, will be released on September 24, 2013.

“I really look forward to working with Paul to help make King’s original story sing,” said Mark Campbell, the librettist for Minnesota Opera’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night and the upcoming world premiere of The Manchurian Candidate (both with composer Kevin Puts). “I’m thrilled to once again be working with everyone from Minnesota Opera and the New Works Initiative, director Eric Simonson and maestro Michael Christie.” 
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