Which Hitchcock movie would you see as opera?

In tomorrow’s Observer, Peter Conrad reports from Gothenburg where they are making a new opera out of the 1946 Hitchcock chiller, Notorious. The main part is written for Nina Stemme.

Interesting as that sounds, we’re not sure Notorious is the best candidate for a Hitchcock opera.

Our preferences:

1 Rebecca

2 Stage Fright

3 Psycho.




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    • “The Birds” because the orchestra and choral parts will be phenomenally creepy and special effects (including misbehaving audience members being pelted with gull droppings) will be extraordinary.

  • North by Northwest is for me the best film by Hittchcock. It should be easy for the Met to find the right airplane and a good set builder for Mount Rushmore and the Lloyd Wright villa. Bob Wilson could direct. Opolais instead of Eva Marie Saint and Stephen Gould as Gary Grant. Herrmann’s score could be used with voices added. Harnoncourt is the ideal conductor.

  • 1. Shadow of a Doubt
    2, Strangers on a Train

    Murder, intrigue, love, comedy, and in SoaD, the Merry Widow Waltz is already there.

    • Wouldn’t the source material of Rebecca be considered Daphne DuMaurier’s book rather than Hitchcock’s film? The Birds, depending upon scoring, might be more likely to take its inspiration from the film, though once again DuMaurier is the creator of the material.

      A lot of other Hitchcock is also based on popular fiction. Hitchcock films are simply another medium of interpretation, as an opera would be.

    • The latest remastering of The Lodger – by the British Film Institute National Archive – does have a new soundtrack added to it. It’s written by Nitin Sawhney and is performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

  • “Strangers on a Train” with the full carousel sequence. “Dial M for Murder” would also be great. Come to think of it, “Vertigo” could be positively Wagnerian!

  • I immediately thought of Rebecca. But secondly The man who knew too much as it ends in a concert hall with a symphonic piece. And thirdly Vertigo as it is already an opera, with its inverted themes from Tristan und Isolde.

  • But we have the wonderful Nina Stemme on board – and she gets to explore the character played by that other great Swede, Ingrid Bergman. I am very biased, but Notorious is the best, most exciting idea for sure. Psycho needs more of a coloratura soprano, don’t you think?

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