Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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"Anna Nicole" Opera Gives Voice To Star's Highs And Lows

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TWC News: "Anna Nicole" Opera Gives Voice To Star's Highs And Lows
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The late reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith is the subject of a new opera being co-produced by BAM and New York City Opera. NY1's Frank DiLella was on hand for opening night and filed the following report.

The provocative and ultimately tragic tale of TV personality Anna Nicole Smith is now being brought to life in opera form. The piece, "Anna Nicole", which was commissioned by The Royal Opera House in London and debuted there back in 2011, is playing at The Brooklyn Academy of Music through the end of the month. Soprano Sarah Joy Miller takes on the title character.

"I love Anna Nicole's spirit and I love seeing how people respond to the idea of there being an opera about her," says Miller.

Rounding out Anna Nicole's family are some Broadway friendly faces: Actor James Barbour plays Anna's father, Daddy Hogan, and Mary Testa plays Anna's aunt, Aunt Kay.

"This is my BAM debut I never thought it would be an opera but I'm so delighted that it is," says Barbour.

"I always ride the line anyways because I do a lot of Michael John LaChiusa material which is very operatic in scope and you know I'm not that far away, although I'm not an opera singer per se," says Testa.

The opera is a co-production between BAM and New York City Opera. While the company has been in the news lately due to lack of funding and is in jeopardy of closing, general manager and artistic director George Steel remains optimistic about its future.

"We can't go forward without capital, we have to have money up front to be able to move forward. And we're trying to raise $7 million this month. It's a very steep mountain to climb but there's been some good stuff. We raised a little money. Today, alone, a million dollars came across the threshold so I think Anna Nicole is a good omen for us," says Steele.

"Anna Nicole" was composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage and has a libretto by Richard Thomas of "Jerry Springer: The Opera" fame.

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