The popular culture classic book and film The Shining is also currently an opera at Minnesota Opera
The Shining was Stephen King’s first hardback bestseller. The novel was published in 1977. It was Stephen King’s third novel, and it established him as a major figure in the horror genre. Stanley Kubrick’s film starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall, came out three years later. This film adaptation was listed by Martin Scorcese as one of the scariest horror films ever made.
The Shining follows a Jack Torrance and his wife and son, Wendy and Danny, as they move into the Overlook Hotel for the winter to act as caretakers. Composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell collaborated on transitioning this project into opera form.
“Stephen King’s original novel is all about love, death and power,” said Moravec. “And those are the three foundational components for an opera.”
But the process of displaying something already known to the public in a new medium was a challenging one. Mark Campbell had to secure Stephen King’s approval for the structure and content of his libertto. Campbell got it, but says he had to do a lot of distilling.
“Let’s just say: from 600 pages to under two hours,” said Campbell.
The opera opened last week at Minnesota Opera. The Shining has already sold out for weeks in advance. The show runs for about 2 hours and 8 minutes, plus a twenty minute intermission.
The Shining is the latest in a series of Minnesota Opera premieres based on popular books, plays and movies, including The Grapes of Wrath, Silent Night, which won a Pulitzer for its score, and Doubt. Overall, The Shining is the company’s 44th world premiere.