Mark Swed was lucky enough to have a seat at London’s Royal Opera House for Thursday’s world premiere of Anna Nicole. The idea of an opera about the LA icon debuting overseas seems oddly in sync with the late glam girl’s globe-trotting ways.
The program book, writes Swed, includes the essay “Two Millennia of Tragic Bimbos,” by a university English professor, and another treatise by a breast pathologist! Once the lights go down, the show runs with that boob-focused slant:
The opera is full of wisecracks, sexual references and four-letter words… Four under-developed women sing a lament for the breastless masses. Poor old-man [J. Howard] Marshall, who seems to live for Anna’s oral sex, bemoans that one day, tomorrow never comes. When he goes, he goes in a gold lamé track suit.
Swed writes that the show’s star, Danish Wagnerian soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek (pictured), struggles with her 42DD prosthetic attachments but does a good job with the vocals, all the way through to a death scene where she is surrounded by figures wearing cameras for heads. Still ,the critic doubts any major American company will pick up the opera in its current, foul-mouthed form.