Courtney Love has been cast as the star of a new opera. The former Hole singer will make her debut in Kansas City Choir Boy, premiering at the “visionary opera-theatre” festival Prototype: Opera/Theater/Now, in New York.
“I wanted to do something challenging,” Love explained to the New York Times. After being approached by composer/librettist Todd Almond and director Kevin Newbury, she was immediately drawn to Kansas City Choir Boy’s “concept”, as well as the music. “I’m playing it constantly,” she said.
Almond finished an earlier version of the show about eight years ago, conceiving the music as a series of unconnected songs. Working with Newbury, Almond found the music could be strung together to follow a simple narrative. “It seemed like a long-form music video for the stage when I thought about it,” he said in the festival’s programme notes.
According to the festival’s website, Kansas City Choir Boy “is a theatricalised concept album about love altered by unexpected fate”. Though it’s been described as an opera, it’s not “in an operatic style”, Almond told the Times. “I mean [opera] in the sense that it’s a group of songs that tell a story. I write musicals, I write plays and I write what I call opera, which I think of as a form that opens the minds of both the performers and the listeners.”
The production follows the story of two lovers in a Midwestern town, one of whom goes missing. It was inspired by Greek mythology, the 24-hour news cycle, and, to some degree, Love’s voice. “I love [it], and I think she’s a great actress,” Almond said.
Aside from her work as a musician and her colourful personal life, Love is best known for her acting roles in the late 90s, including a major part in Miloš Forman’s film The People vs Larry Flynt. More recently she joined the cast of the TV series Sons of Anarchy, appearing in one episode. “It’s a challenge to be 50 and starting over in acting,” she told Paper magazine this summer. “[But] it’s more important for me to act right now than to play rock’n’roll.”
Despite recent talk of reforming Hole, Love claimed she does not want to reunite the band unless they are making “music that is relevant to now”. “My relationships with Melissa, Patty and Eric are all great,” she said. “[But] I’m not going to do the oldies circuit.”
In April, Love revealed that she and daughter Frances Bean Cobain were working to transform Kurt Cobain’s life into a stage musical. “[We] agreed that if we can reach up to the highest shelf and select a team of the greatest and most respected writers, producers and directors, then a Broadway musical is very likely to happen,” she told NME. “Sitting in that theatre with her [would] be the most emotional experience of our lives.”
Kansas City Choir Boy will open at Manhattan’s Here arts centre on 8 January. Buy tickets at the Prototype festival website .
This article was written by Sean Michaels, for theguardian.com on Friday 3rd October 2014 07.30 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010