19 Jun 2008

Albert Gore, the Opera

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Albert Gore’s life at college was reputedly the inspiration for Erich Segal’s Love Story. One would think that would constitute enough artistic immortality for anyone, but, no! The horror, the horror….

London Times (6/8):

La Scala in Milan has commissioned a musical version of An Inconvenient Truth, the apocalyptic eco-documentary presented by Al Gore, the former American vice-president.

Gore will be replaced on stage by a cast of tenors and at least one soprano as the story of man-made climate change is told. …

The music is being written by Giorgio Battistelli, whose past operas include works based on the Frankenstein story and on the writings of Jules Verne. The composer believes an operatic treament of Gore’s film will allow people to see the dangers facing the world in a new light.

“Opera makes you reflect. Artists make you see things differently,” he said. “When we see a painting by Francis Bacon or a film by Sydney Pollack, we get a very precise idea of the problems of our century.”

The work is scheduled to be performed in 2011 as part of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. “I thought it could be a good idea to deal on this important occasion with a subject that involves not only Italy but the world,” Battistelli, 55, added. “It will be about the tragedy of our present situation. It is a great challenge to write an opera on such an unusual subject. It is certainly not the story of Romeo and Juliet.”

Even the New York Times’ John Tierney is moved to satire.

Dear Mr. Gore,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my draft of “Verità Inconveniente.” Rest assured that I and the management of La Scala are committed to a serious presentation of your scientific work. I will try to adopt some of your suggestions, but I hope you appreciate the constraints faced by the composer of an opera that is already five hours long.

I agree it would “round out the résumé” of Prince Algorino in the opening scene if he were to sing about his creation of a communications network. But the “Mio magnifico Internet” aria you propose seems to me a distraction — and frankly out of place in an 18th-century Tuscan village. I believe the peasants’ choral celebration of Prince Algorino’s wisdom suffices to establish his virtues.

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

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