MN Opera: Wuthering Heights

Don't be alarmed if the Twin Cities feels a little sinister of late; Bernard Herrmann is in town. Although the composer died in 1975, his iconic music has been kept alive by its inseparable association with classic cinema, particularly his suspense-driven scores to such revered Alfred Hitchcock collaborations as Psycho, North by Northwest, and Vertigo. A rich selection of such films, as programmed by Take-Up Productions, can be caught throughout April at Trylon microcinema and the Riverview Theater as part of the composer's centennial birthday. But perhaps the most thrilling event during this Herrmann celebration is taking place at the Ordway Center, where the Minnesota Opera is launching a groundbreaking production of Wuthering Heights, the composer's sole opera. Based on the novel by Emily Brontë and featuring a libretto by Herrmann's first wife, Lucille Fletcher, Wuthering Heights seeks to derive operatic weight from the doomed passion of Heathcliff and Catherine. Though Herrmann completed the work (right here in Minneapolis) in 1951, the opera was never performed in the artist's lifetime. In fact, excepting an abbreviated production by the Portland Opera in 1982, the piece has been conspicuously absent for decades. Those pondering whether Herrmann's operatic contribution represents a justly shelved miscalculation or an unfairly neglected masterpiece can, at the very least, rely upon the superlative Minnesota Opera to channel the work's full potential in sumptuous style. For tickets and info, call 612.333.6669 or visit
Sun., April 17, 2 p.m.; Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: April 17. Continues through April 23, 2011

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