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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Seen The 'Brokeback Mountain' Movie? Now Watch The Opera

Tom Randle (left) and Daniel Okulitch star in the opera <em>Brokeback Mountain</em>.
Javier del Real
Teatro Real
Tom Randle (left) and Daniel Okulitch star in the opera Brokeback Mountain.

In 2006, at the 78th Academy Awards, the film Brokeback Mountain captured three Oscars and the attention of movie fans everywhere. That two handsome stars — Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal — played the lead roles helped propel the film's popularity.

But the tale of star-crossed sheepherders who fall in love on a rugged Wyoming mountain originated long before the film, as a tightly focused short story by Annie Proulx that was published in the New Yorker in 1997.

Now Proulx and Pulitzer-winning composer Charles Wuorinen have brought Brokeback Mountain to the operatic stage. The entire production from Madrid's Teatro Real is being offered for free video streaming , beginning Friday at 2 p.m. ET. It will remain available for 90 days.

In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition, Proulx, celebrated for her colorfully succinct style of writing, said she relished the chance to craft her first opera libretto and the opportunity to expand on her protagonists a little. Wuorinen said he saw the operatic potential in the story after seeing the film: "It's a contemporary version of a universal human problem. Two people that are in love, who can't make it work and it ends badly."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.