ANGELS IN AMERICA Opera Makes UK Debut

Tony Kushner's Angels in America has evolved from a play to a film, a TV series and now an opera. Making its UK debut, composer Péter Eötvös sates, "In the opera version, I put less emphasis on the political line than Kushner...I rather focus on the passionate relationships, on the highly dramatic suspense of the wonderful text, on the permanently uncertain state of the visions."

The UK production of Angels in America premieres this Friday at the Barbican, London.  Tickets are £9 -28  For details, visit: barbican.org.uk

Billed as "A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," the Angels in America plays are Kushner's mosaic of life at the dusk of the twentieth century (specifically the mid-eighties), featuring an interconnected array of characters such as a once-closeted Mormom and his wife, a homosexual man dying of AIDS and his confused lover, a sexy, sage drag queen, and a mysterious angel who offers both annoyance and comfort. The plays--which both opened on Broadway in 1993 both won Tony Awards for Best Play, while Millenium Approaches won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Both plays were later into an Emmy Award-winning two-part movie for HBO, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Emma Thompson, Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and others.

The Angels in America opera was first commissioned by Theatre du Chatelet in Paris in 2004 in a production starring Julia Migenes (it was later filmed for PBS' 'Great Performances' and also produced in Hamburg, Germany).  In late 2005, PBS announced that they would air a live filmed version of the opera as a part of its Great Performances lineup. The opera made its U.S. debut in June 2006 at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion in Boston, Massachusetts.

 After 17 years of medical advances, productions of Angels today can seem dated. Eötvös's version however works in favor of the show. He states, "It's my hope that Angels in America will be played not in 20 years, but in 50 years, perhaps even 100. The theatre works immediately, but opera is the medium of the future."

 



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