(UPDATE) Anna Nicole: Everything's Bigger In...Opera?

Shouldn't be a stretch: Eva-Maria Westbroek, seen here as Lady Macbeth in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk will play Anna Nicole Smith.
Shouldn't be a stretch: Eva-Maria Westbroek, seen here as Lady Macbeth in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk will play Anna Nicole Smith.
parterre.com

Update (5:24pm) Houston Grand Opera spokesperson Elizabeth Baisley returned our call about the possibility of an HGO production of Anna Nicole. Her comments after the jump.

On February 17, the long-awaited new opera Anna Nicole opens at the Royal Opera House in London. With music by composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and libretto by Richard Thomas, the man behind Jerry Springer: The Opera, Anna Nicole will feature Eva-Maria Westbroek in the title role.

(Our Hair Balls blog reported on the project when it was announced almost exactly two years ago.)

According to an article in The Telegraph, The ROH isn't very concerned about libel suits cropping up on behalf of Smith's lawyer-boyfriend Howard K. Stern or any of her late husband J. Howard Marshall's extended family. They don't think any of the living characters will be making an appearance at Covent Garden to see themselves portrayed.

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And while we expect arias for Anna Nicole and Stern, one potentially controversial part might be the planned aria for Smith's son Daniel, that's simply "a litany of the drugs which killed him." Whoa.

But don't expect everything to be played for laughs. It's a tragedy after all. Turnage says he has sympathy for the doomed icon of sordid living, that she "wasn't just this cartoon."

Art Attack hopes Houston Grand Opera brings Anna Nicole to Houston soon. That's no-brainer programming. We put in a call to HGO to express our enthusiasm.

Click ahead for a video teaser of the London production.

Update: We asked Houston Grand Opera if there was any talk amongst the organization about the upcoming London premiere.

HGO's Elizabeth Baisley says HGO is curious but cautious:

"We haven't seen it, of course, is my first response. At some point, I'm sure somebody [from HGO] will see it. Whenever there's an important new work in our field, we like to know about it and get to know it, but we can't actually comment on the piece itself. There hasn't been any conversation about programming it, and that conversation would happen after someone's taken a look."

No one from HGO's booked tickets to London yet?

"Ordinarily there would be; I don't know particularly whether anybody's going to see it. I haven't asked; we've had our own shows running."

Apparently, things move pretty slow in the opera world.

"If we planned [an HGO production] it would be several years away, if at all."

But this is Houston. Seems we should be hosting the premiere. Is HGO taking Anna Nicole seriously?

"If the Royal Opera's putting it on, you take it seriously."

And anything's possible.

"No plans at this point. But who knows?"

Of course we appreciate Baisley taking the time to indulge us.

It's just with HGO's recent stabs at audience development landing with a big thud in our opinion, Anna Nicole feels like just the right potential pop-cultural bombshell that HGO should be courting.

Or maybe HGO's playing its cards close to the "chest."


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