The Manchurian Candidate, the second opera from composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, creators of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night, will receive its world premiere in March 2015.
The Manchurian Candidate is a political thriller based on the 1959 novel by Richard Condon about the son of a prominent U.S. political family who is brainwashed into becoming an unwitting sleeper assassin for a Communist conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government. Condon’s novel inspired two film adaptations. The first film, directed by John Frankenheimer in 1962, starred Laurence Harvey Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury, and is widely regarded to be a masterpiece of its genre. Director Jonathan Demme’s 2004 film updated the action to the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and starred Liv Schreiber, Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep.
“I have long wanted to commission an operatic thriller,” said Artistic Director Dale Johnson, “and after the incredible experience of Silent Night in 2011, I was eager to work with Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell again. The Manchurian Candidate is an all-around match made in heaven.”
“That the term ‘Manchurian candidate’ was been bandied about as recently as the last Presidential campaign trail proves there’s an enduring fascination with conspiracy theories of massive proportions,” continued Johnson. “Strong characters and tantalizing drama make for the best operas, and this story has those in spades. When you think about combining those elements with this existing cultural fixation and putting them in the hands of a Pulitzer-winning team, I think we have an incredibly exciting creative process ahead as we move to the premiere of this opera in our 2014–2015 season.”