Swedish operatic take on Hitchcock's "Notorious"

3:18 min

A "notorious" opera will take place this autumn in the west coast city of Gothenburg, which will attract film fans as well as opera buffs.

Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 American spy thriller Notorious, starring Cary Grant, Claude Raines and Sweden's own Ingrid Bergman, has been adapted in the theatre and made into a TV film. Now, almost 70 years later, it is being turned into an Opera, in Gothenburg, by musical director Patrik Ringborg.

He tells Swedish Radio's Culture channel, that the story, of Alice Huberman, (Ingrid Bergman), the American daughter of a convicted Nazi spy, who is recruited by government agent T. R. Devlin (Cary Grant) to infiltrate an organisation of Nazis who have moved to Brazil after World War II, is ideal for the opera.

"It's a story which has huge emotional pull. A story which is in parts, thriller, comedy , love story and tragedy. So it's very much made for the opera."

Down in the basement of the Gothenburg Opera House, rehearsals are already taking place with Patrik Ringborg and his choir.

"It is very unusual to write an opera based on a film, it's probably the most unusual of all," Patrik Ringborg says to Swedish Radio.

He was asked whether the original film score, by Roy Webb, would be recreated in some way in his opera.

"We won't be reproducing the film's soundtrack but Han Gefors's score is kind of cinematic, that when the action moves to Rio de Janeiro, there are Latin - American rhythms and instruments that are not usually found in a opera music."

In the original film, Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant's characters fall in love but she still must marry one of her father's friends, Claude Raines' Hitchcock villain, Alex Sebastianm, who in the opera version is played by Michael Weinius.

"We are trying not to make a copy of the film.This is of course an interpretation, so anyone expecting to see the film on stage will be disappointed," he says.

Conductor Patrik Ringborg says his opera version of Notorious will carry an emotional punch.

"Opera is the world's best art form, the music reinforces what is said and reinforces feelings. And it gives an opera with the same story a much greater chance of reaching emotions than a film."

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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