Breaking Bad the Opera: a Walter White Aria?

Breaking Bad the Opera?

While fans of the AMC five season hit Breaking Bad are still in mourning over the show’s ending, hope has surfaced in the form of an opera. It looks like the Walter White story will be re-told via the auspices of a mini-opera staged by the New York company One World Symphony.

Or at least one portion of his story. It looks like the new opera will be titled Breaking Bad – Ozymandias. The artistic director/composer/conductor Sung Jin Hong is working to create the mini-opera and he is planning to build the musical retelling based around one premise. Hong believes that the core of the AMC program that chronicled the rise and fall of a New Mexico meth kingpin revolves around the question of whether or not we are all “breaking bad.”

That is Hong’s take on the new show, but he wants help from people who are fans of the program to help him write his mini opus. When finished the show will have a short January run from the 26th to the 27th in 2014.

The finished product will have a combined theme taken from Vince Gilligan’s show and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias, which was also the title, and theme, of episode 14 in season five. The plan to develop the opera was posted on the New World Symphony’s website.

On the site, Hong – who has been called a “promising young conductor” by the Village Voice and the creator of “New York’s Hip Classical” by The Korea Herald, has written that he will be composing the mini-opera. He asks questions about how he should go about setting it up. Wondering if he should use “specific characters” from the show, or should he set his music to iconic moments from the show.

He also ponders on devoting the opera to that single episode in the show based on the poets sonnet; which exemplifies the struggle for power and pride. He reveals that he would like to dive into the Breaking Bad verse and show moral choices that embrace the drama.

Hong concludes with the information that he will be sharing his impressions, developments, possible trajectories as well as his ideas on the website. The artistic director/composer has left the door open for any ideas or questions from fans of the idea by emailing him at info@oneworldsymphony.org.”

The talented Hong has had a brilliant track record with the New World Symphony. He specialises in transforming literature in the form of novels and poetry into wildly popular musical works. The maestro is a proponent of performing living musician’s work and has a reputation for interacting with the audiences who attend his concerts.

He has won awards for his concertos and his shows are almost always sold out. Hong was chosen by the world famous German conductor, Kurt Masur, to be a participant in a set of master classes and to conduct a concert with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony. 2005 saw Hong make his international debut with the biggest record label in classical music, Naxos. His debut recording made it onto the Billboard classical Chart the week of its release.

In keeping with his penchant for interacting with his audiences, it is no surprise that Hong has asked for ideas from his potential listeners. It will be interesting to see Hong’s Breaking Bad the opera when it begins its short run in January next year. If the show proves popular, perhaps other television shows can he translated. American Horror Story, perhaps?

By Michael Smith
United Kingdom

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