Which Hitchcock movie would you see as opera?

Which Hitchcock movie would you see as opera?


norman lebrecht

September 05, 2015

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.





  • Fred Plotkin says:

    The Birds

    • Fred Plotkin says:

      “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.

  • RW2013 says:

    I can’t think of any film that ever survived the transfer to the opera stage.

  • Michael J. Stewart says:

    1) Rope

    2) Rear Window

  • David Jones says:

    Vertigo – death and obsession, something for everyone.

    Rope – might make an atmospheric single act opera.

  • CDH says:

    All very jolly. But what happened to the post about the stolen violone and double bass? Have they been found?

  • Pedro says:

    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.

    • PaulD says:

      I like North by Northwest, too. Perhaps to save money, they could borrow that communist Mt. Rushmore from the Bayreuth Ring.

  • SueMont says:

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

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

  • Gary Carpenter says:

    Wilfred Josephs did write an operatic version of Rebecca.

    • CDH says:

      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.

  • Marty says:

    The Lodger. Dark, creepy, and a silent with no soundtrack to be compared to.

    • Rob Maynard says:

      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.

  • RW2013 says:

    Please don’t encourage Jake Heggie…

  • Emonteirobr says:

    Psycho, of course

  • Rob Maynard says:

    The farmer’s wife

  • Kostis Protopapas says:

    Rebecca for sure. Unforgettable characters!

  • Constantine Kitsopoulos says:

    “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!

  • SergioM says:

    A Hitchcock opera has already been done. Vertigo or better known as Die Todt Stadt

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    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.

  • Stephen Langridge says:

    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?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      But how do you cast Norman Bates? Baritone? Countenor? Do let me know when there’s video of Notorious, Stephen…

  • Ross Amico says:

    Sergiom beat me to the punch, although of course “Die tote Stadt” came first.

  • Jessica says:

    Vertigo shares some roots and some elements of the story with Korngold’s ‘Die tote Stadt’. Love ’em both.