On June 2 – 4, 2023, Opera Parallèle (OP) presents the West Coast premiere of composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell’s celebrated opera The Shining, in San Francisco. Directly based on the famed 1977 Stephen King novel, the opera was commissioned by The Minnesota Opera and premiered in May 2016 at the Ordway Music Theater in St. Paul, MN. Staging was directed by Eric Simonson and Michael Christie conducted the premiere performances. Several subsequent performances have followed. Opera Parallele’s San Francisco production will be directed by Brian Staufenbiel, and conducted by Nicole Paiement – the company’s general and artistic director. Performances will take place at the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts. Opera Parallèle presents the premiere of a reorchestration in a new co-production with Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Portland Opera, a consortium of Pacific Rim-based opera companies.
“This new production and West Coast Premiere of The Shining,” Paiement shares, “continues what OP does best — bring contemporary stories with exhilarating narratives to the stage through incredible musical scores from living composers. OP seeks to bring to the stage works that reflect on issues of our time and truly believes in the transformative power of opera to help raise collective awareness of contemporary issues.” Moravec adds, “When Opera Parallèle’s Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel suggested I consider a re-orchestration of The Shining with smaller forces, it dawned on me how immediate and intimate an impact it would achieve, not possible in a large-scale production. It invites the audience to engage directly with the characters and action in this intimate imagining of Stephen King’s harrowing tale of love, madness, and the supernatural.”
Paiement continues. “The Shining is about hidden evil emerging when the snow sets in; when a family is isolated and broken, and when a man who has buried his darkness finally collapses, becoming what he was, perhaps inevitably, going to be. This is a larger metaphor for how the pressures of the patriarchal modern world can consume a person and how the desire to escape or isolate oneself is a natural human response. This feels somewhat prescient after the last years of a global pandemic. Through the powerful language of Mark Campbell’s libretto, the opera strikingly captures the humanity behind these famous characters and the power of familial love. I have been inspired by Paul Moravec’s capacity to preserve his electrifying orchestral language within a smaller ensemble. The wide palette of colors he maintains throughout his musical score is truly riveting. I am very excited to bring his new score to life.”