|Album cover for opera|
That's right, folks. Poe is hitting the stage in a new way--set to music. According to BBC Radio, the drummer for The Police has written an opera based on Poe's famous story, The Tell-Tale Heart.
In order to understand the short story as an opera, one must first know the definition of "opera"--an "art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text (called a libretto) and musical score" (wiki). Opera came about in the late 16th century, in Florence, Italy--home of so many artistic triumphs. In the early 20th century, the musical art underwent a transformation by modernists such as Stravinsky and Puccini. Now, "modern" opera goes back a century and takes on a tale of guilt and madness.
Watch part of it here, if you like:
Does the story lend itself to opera? Tragic lead character, dramatic turning point, life-changing event...all there. But it seems to me the story is meant to be read. It's meant to be seen in black and white in contrast with the color of Poe's words. Each sentence is meant to be thought as the narrator thought them, in the growing, swirling madness that slowly overtook his mind. An opera is too bold for this bold work. Does that make sense? Throwing such a story in your face does not make it stronger, but instead weakens the very strengths of Poe's brilliance.
What do you think?
Oh! And Happy St. Patty's Day!