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The Alan Turing opera, now with added sex

January 11, 2017 by norman lebrecht

10 comments.


An opera, The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing, composed by Justine F. Chen with a libretto by David Simpatico, opens tomorrow in New York.

Shawn E Milnes reports:

David Simpatico, librettist for The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing explained, “One of the things I had trouble with, the film (The Imitation Game) and the screenplay, was that it completely asexualized him. He was not a sexual creature in this movie. He was in the closet. That couldn’t be more opposite. He was completely out. He was out upon meeting people. He would say, ‘How are you doing? I’m a homosexual. Will you have a problem with that? No.’ He was out to everybody. The movie makes it feel like he had something to hide.”

 

More here.


Comments (10)

  1. Geoff says:

    First many books, then a movie and now an opera. if only he were alive to see it all.

  2. Steven Holloway says:

    Simpatico’s libretto will patently misrepresent Turing in this regard. In the 663 pages of text in Andrew Hodges’ Alan Turing: The Enigma, his homosexuality is researched and discussed thoroughly, and nowhere is there any indication that Turing was completely out. And how could he have been having the posts he did in that period? What Hodges does write is that Turing would on occasion come out to someone he had got to know to some degree and with whom he felt safe revealing his sexuality. “We know each quite well now…I might as well tell you I’m a homosexual,” he said to one new and sympathetic friend. But completely out??? Introducing himself to everyone as a homosexual??? He’d have been out of work and in prison. Misrepresenting the dead to suit your own agenda does them no justice.

    1. John Borstlap says:

      It is quite odd how people behave around taboos, especially nonsensical taboos. Imagine such taboo would surround Brussels sprouts: two friends having a late night drink in a bar and, when sufficiently inebriated, one says to the other in a very low voice: ‘…. I think we know each other long enough that I can trust you with a secret….’ etc.

      1. MWnyc says:

        Brussels sprouts are delicious, especially roasted.
        I’ve never understood why so many people don’t like them.
        (Well, adults. I get why kids don’t like them.)

        1. John Borstlap says:

          Both Brussels sprouts and homosexuality touch on very deep, sensitive layers of the collective subconscious.

    2. I agree with you. Mr. Simpatico’s false assertion and attempt to rewrite the narrative of Alan Turing life that He was completely ‘out’ to simply fit his narrow minded agenda is not only dishonest but a terrible disservice by confusing the public in his falsehoods about the true story and memory of Alan Turing’s life.

  3. It is a terrible disservice to the true story and memory of Alan M. Turing that this mr. Simpatico’s outrageously false statements that Alan was “completely out” to fit his very narrow minded agenda and assert that Alan was 100% ‘gay’ and very openly proud of it is ‘completely made-up’. Alan Turing was very cautious who he approached and very private about his sexuality, so much so that his next door neighbors of 6 years didn’t know he was gay!! The proof that mr. Simpatico has no idea what he’s talking about is the fact that he contradicts himself when he says that Alan committed suicide because of his homosexuality yet at the same time Alan Turing is “proud and out” for his sexuality??? it is widely believed in the LGBT community that Alan Turing committed suicide BECAUSE of his persecution, isolation, and yes “shame” for being gay as Alan himself confided to his psychiatrist mr. Greenbaum in 1953. If Alan was so proud of his homosexuality why did commit suicide because of it??? Mr. Simpatico ‘completely’ contradicts himself.
    It is also known that Alan told some of his closest friends that he wished marriage (to a woman) and have children but never found the right woman who he could “love in that way”, who could understand him and be much like him. Why would he say this if he was so 100% proud to be gay and “OUT” as simpatico falsely pronounce as fact???
    Mr. Simpatico absolutely doesn’t know anything about Alan Turing. I find it very offensive that simpatico presents himself as an authority on Alan Turing’s mental, emotional, sexual, and personal life. Simpatico really has no business talking and spreading falsehoods about Alan Turing. He needs to read up on him and learn the truth about the great man Alan Turing.

    1. MWnyc says:

      As I understood it (and I’m far from alone in this understanding), it was not because of his homosexuality that Alan Turing killed himself; it was because of the physical and emotional turmoil caused by the hormones he was forced by the state to ingest – the “chemical castration” – as the punishment for the crime of “gross indecency”.

  4. MWnyc says:

    As I understand it (and I’m far from alone in this understanding), it wasn’t because of his homosexuality that Alan Turing committed suicide.

    It was because of the physical and emotional turmoil caused by the hormones he was forced by the state to ingest – the “chemical castration” – as punishment for the crime of “gross indecency”.

    1. MWnyc says:

      My apologies for the duplicate post. Technical issues in my browser.

      By the way, I do agree with Julia Turing and others here that Simpatico, in his comments to Shawn Milnes, distorts Alan Turing’s life and the way he chose to live it. As for Simpatico’s libretto, I’ll wait until I see it.


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