Minnesota Opera announces its commission of The Shining, a new opera by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell, based on the 1977 best-selling novel by Stephen King. Minnesota Opera will give The Shining its world premiere in May 2016 at Ordway in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The Shining is the iconic supernatural horror novel that helped establish Stephen King as the genre’s definitive voice. In the story, Jack Torrance moves his wife Wendy and son Danny to the remote Overlook Hotel in Colorado, where he has been hired as winter caretaker. The family endeavors to remain together in spite of their growing isolation from the world, the hotel’s paranormal activity and Jack’s abusive nature, alcoholism and growing madness.

“It is tremendously exciting to have received Stephen King’s permission to adapt The Shining into an opera,” said Artistic Director Dale Johnson. “Opera has the unique ability to amplify a story’s emotions, and by putting one of the most powerfully imagined stories of our time into the hands of Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell, I have no doubt The Shining will be an intensely thrilling horror opera.”

Paul Moravec, a prolific composer whose music has been described as “highly engrossing” and “remarkably accessible,” considers The Shining a perfect fit for the art form. “King’s novel is naturally operatic: it sings,” said Moravec. “It features the classic elements of operatic conflict, notably the power of love in the face of extraordinary evil and destructive forces. It’s a joy to imagine the musical form of this timeless contest, along with the story’s evocation of terror and the supernatural.”

A film based on King’s novel, directed by Stanley Kubrick, was released in 1980, and in 1997, Mr. King adapted his book into a television mini-series. Minnesota Opera’s commission is the work’s first adaptation for the stage. Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining that follows the middle-aged Danny Torrance into another epic battle of good against evil, will be released on September 24, 2013.

“I really look forward to working with Paul to help make King’s original story sing,” said Mark Campbell, the librettist for Minnesota Opera’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night and the upcoming world premiere of The Manchurian Candidate (both with composer Kevin Puts). “I’m thrilled to once again be working with everyone from Minnesota Opera and the New Works Initiative, director Eric Simonson and maestro Michael Christie.”

  • The Shining

    Relive The Shining now with the book (AmazonKindleiTunes), movie (AmazoniTunes), and TV mini-series (Amazon). Don’t miss Stephen King’s upcoming book Doctor Sleep — the thrilling sequel to The Shining!

  • Stephen King

    Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947, the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his parents separated when Stephen was a toddler, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of the elderly couple. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

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  • Music by Paul Moravec

    Paul Moravec, recipient of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Music, is the composer of numerous orchestral, chamber, choral, operatic and lyric pieces. His music has earned many distinctions, including the Rome Prize Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation.

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  • Libretto by Mark Campbell

    Mark Campbell is one of the most in-demand librettists working in opera today, recently profiled in Opera News as one of twenty-five people “poised…to become major forces in opera in the coming decade.” Mark has received many prestigious awards for his work. Most recently, Silent Night with Minnesota Opera was honored with the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. 

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  • Directed by Eric Simonson

    Writer and director Eric Simonson recently directed Silent Night and Wuthering Heights for Minnesota Opera and Rusalka for Colorado Opera. Other directing credits include The Grapes of Wrath at Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Carnegie Hall; numerous plays for Steppenwolf Theatre; and productions at The Huntington Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Primary Stages in New York, Court Theatre in Chicago, L.A. Theatre Works, The Kennedy Center, City Theater in Pittsburgh, Seattle Rep and San Jose Rep.

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  • Conducted by Michael Christie

    Michael Christie became the music director of the Minnesota Opera in September 2012 after eight years as the Virginia G. Piper Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony. Over his 16-year career, he has conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony and the Cincinnati Symphony, among many others. Christie made his New York Philharmonic debut in March 2007, stepping in for an ailing Riccardo Muti.

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  • New Works Initiative

    The commission of The Shining launches the second generation of Minnesota Opera’s New Works Initiative. A pioneering movement in new opera when it was launched in 2008, the Initiative was designed to invigorate the operatic art form with an infusion of contemporary works and formalized Minnesota Opera’s commitment to artistic growth, leadership and innovation. Its first iteration – a seven-season commitment to producing premieres and revivals of new works – funded the commissions of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night (Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell), last season’s Doubt by Douglas J. Cuomo and librettist John Patrick Shanley and the upcoming political thriller, The Manchurian Candidate (also by Puts and Campbell), which will have its premiere in March 2015.

    Now in the penultimate year of that first phase, Minnesota Opera reveals the future of the New Works Initiative. This next iteration is being conceived as a 10-year program that will not only encompass major commissions like The Shining for its mainstage season at the Ordway, but endeavors to further invigorate the art form and expand its audience by creating new works conceived for non-traditional opera venues. To that end, a hallmark of this new program will be the creation of local and national partnerships to develop new ways of creating, workshopping and presenting opera. Programmatic plans will be released seasonally.

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