Opera has always been a reflection of the cultural zeitgeist of Western society. Historical events, popular stories, real people—they’ve all inspired musicalizations which allow patrons to connect directly with cultural moments in artistic ways.
But while opera may have stopped being the most popular art form, it never stopped being a relevant one. Hats off to the contemporary composers who continue to devote themselves to breathing life into the art form (because if they don’t, who will?). Opera is an endangered species, much like pandas or stenographers, and it continues to thrive creatively by reflecting the pop culture moments—movies, novels, reality stars—that you perhaps didn’t expect to be made operatic.
You may not have known that there’s a Brokeback Mountain opera opening January 28 in Madrid. Or that New York City Opera ended its decades-long run with an opera about Anna Nicole Smith. In fact, there are a slew of recent pop culture-inspired operas you might not know about: READ FULL STORY