2.8/10
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Brokeback Mountain (2014)

A tragic and secretive romance ensues over many years after two men meet while herding sheep on Brokeback Mountain in this opera based on Annie Proulx's short story and its subsequent Oscar-winning film adaptation.

Writers:

Annie Proulx (libretto), Annie Proulx (story)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Daniel Okulitch Daniel Okulitch ... Ennis del Mar
Tom Randle Tom Randle ... Jack Twist
Heather Buck Heather Buck ... Alma
Heather Esther Minutillo Heather Esther Minutillo ... Lureen
Ethan Herschenfeld ... Aguirre / Hog-Boy
Celia Alcedo Celia Alcedo ... Alma's mother
Jane Henschel Jane Henschel ... Jack's mother
Ryan MacPherson Ryan MacPherson ... Jack's father
Hilary Summers Hilary Summers ... Bartender
Letitia Singleton Letitia Singleton ... Saleswoman
Gaizka Gurruchaga Gaizka Gurruchaga ... Cowboy
Vasco Fracanzani Vasco Fracanzani ... Bill Jones
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Reece Chadwick Reece Chadwick ... Jack
Connor Cook Connor Cook ... Joker
Titus Engel Titus Engel ... Himself - Direction musicale
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Storyline

A tragic and secretive romance ensues over many years after two men meet while herding sheep on Brokeback Mountain in this opera based on Annie Proulx's short story and its subsequent Oscar-winning film adaptation.

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Genres:

Drama | Musical

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 January 2014 (France) See more »

Filming Locations:

Madrid, Spain

Company Credits

Production Co:

Bel Air Media See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remake of Brokeback Mountain (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting enough, but pales in comparison to the film
22 May 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Ang Lee's 2005 film 'Brokeback Mountain' is one of my favourite films of the 2000s, as well as of all time. It is so well-made, written and acted and never fails to mesmerise or deeply touch me.

So hearing that there was an opera version of the story it's based on sparked my interest. Reviewing it after finishing seeing it a couple of hours ago, the production itself has a lot of things to recommend and is very well done. The main problem is that despite some nice moments in the music and story the opera 'Brokeback Mountain' is not my cup of tea.

With the music, by Charles Wourinen, there are some beautiful and tender moments but they are too far in between in a score that's serialist in style, with the dissonance, angularities and difficult pitchings, but with little memorable or interesting. Despite some good atmosphere, it's a bit samey, could have had more shades in texture (it's constantly quite dense) and goes at a harsh dirge-like drone pace, which does too often give off a completely different mood to the story.

The libretto, which is admittedly more faithful to the original story than the film is, again has moments but to me the film has more emotion, passion and heart. In the opera, parts are too clinical and cold and then there are others that are mawkish and over-explicit. Jack and Ennis' relationship is portrayed very affectingly and sensitively, but there could have been more.

The production looks good, especially the evocative interiors and the striking Wyoming screen projections that help give the production a sense of time and place. It's very well served on the DVD too, the video directing is expansive in some places and understatedly sympathetic in others while the picture and sound are high in quality, clear and resonant. The staging is well done too considering the libretto.

What there is throughout is a great dynamic between the performers, Jack and Ennis' relationship as has been said before is portrayed with sensitivity and evokes some emotion and the realism and abstract elements are effectively and neatly balanced. Where it isn't quite so good is that the divided stage does make the action a touch too cluttered at times when it could have done with more intimacy. This said, there is some very interesting attention to behavioural detail. As well as the constant omnipresence of the mountain, which was laid on too thick for my tastes, seeing as it's referenced constantly in the music too, and not enough was done explaining its significance.

'Brokeback Mountain's' music doesn't do much for this reviewer in terms of the music itself. However, it cannot be denied that it is performed brilliantly. The orchestra bring out the moods and colours with fluency, immediacy and a wonderful range of tone colour and depth. Titus Engel's conducting is accommodating but succeeds in not making the drama lifeless.

Performances are very strong across the board, with Daniel Okulitch and Tom Randle taking on the lead roles with sincerity, courageous strength and beautifully blended and produced voices expressed with meaning and inhabiting of the text. Heather Buck has some sympathetic moments but also with an intensity delivered at thrilling fever pitch, her vocal writing is incredibly high and Buck doesn't sound taxed. Despite struggling making the English text completely understandable, Hannah Esther Minutillo is cool and lusciously voiced.

Jane Henschel provides some of the production's most poignant moments in the final scene as a touching mother figure, a perfect example of someone doing a lot with little. Ryan MacPherson is suitably potent too, and all the supporting roles are very well taken.

Overall, the production itself is quite good though with a few flaws but the opera leaves me indifferent. 6/10 Bethany Cox


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