Stephen King's The Shining Adapted Into a Opera


Over the years, many famous books have been adapted into operas—The Great Gatsby, Lolita, and The Handmaid’s Tale, to name a few. Most recently, Stephen King fans were able to check out a musical adaptation of The Shining, performed by the Minnesota Opera in the state’s capital city of St. Paul last week, NPR reports.

Sadly, the two-hour show only ran from May 7 to 15, and no future performances have been officially announced. However, if sold-out tickets and glowing reviews are any indication, opera lovers who missed The Shining’s premiere run might someday be able to enjoy future performances of the production.

Curious how The Shining made it from page to stage? A few years ago, Minnesota Opera’s artistic director, Dale Johnson, and stage director Eric Simonson decided they wanted to commission a horror opera, MinnPost reports. (The Shining is part of the Minnesota Opera’s New Works Initiative, an initiative to lure new audiences by backing and premiering fresh new operas.)

Simonson suggested The Shining, and composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell were hired to transform the quirky idea into a reality. Eventually, the creative duo received approval from King to adapt his best-selling 1977 novel into opera form.

The production isn’t based on Stanley Kubrick’s similarly-titled 1980 movie starring Jack Nicholson—mainly because “the movie is not operatic at all,” Campbell told MinnPost. “There’s no journey of any character.” However, he “went back and read the novel and thought, ‘This is a very exciting idea for an opera.’”

The opera’s libretto is faithful to the novel’s plot. It tells the story of Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who slowly descends into madness while working as winter caretaker at the haunted Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. While snowed in after a bad winter storm, the hotel’s spirits urge him to kill his wife and son. According to Moravec and Campbell, their adaptation is just as scary—if not more so—than the book.

The Shining sold out weeks before its first performance on May 7. However, you can still listen to snippets of the show via the video above, courtesy of Classicalite.

[h/t NPR]

Banner image courtesy of iStock.