Anna Nicole Smith Opera Debuts in London02/18/2011, Kelly Fisher, PopEater
Bill Cooper Associated Press
Though it's been four years since model Anna Nicole Smith's untimely death, she's in the spotlight once again -- this time thanks to an opera about her own life. The "rags-to-riches" story of Smith's rise to to fame -- titled 'Anna Nicole' -- debuted at London's Royal Opera House last night to a sold-out house.
"She is fame incarnate," the show's lyricist Richard Thomas told CNN about Smith and her life story. "It is a rags-to-riches story and a cautionary tale all chucked into a blender and whooshed up with three bags of sugar and two bottles of tequila and poured over a two-hour time frame."
Smith famously married multimillionaire J. Howard Marshall, who was 62 years her senior, and endured a lengthy court battle for his estate. She passed away suddenly due to a drug overdose in 2007 at age 39.
Thomas, along with composer Mark-Anthony Turnage aim to show a new side to the blond bombshell's life.
"It's a very universal story," Thomas said. "I wanted to tell a story about a single mom. She makes some good choices. She makes some bad choices. Then she runs out of choices."
"I hope it comes through that we, as writers, love her," Turnage added.
However, the men behind the 'Anna Nicole' opera are quick to add that the show is meant only as pure entertainment and not as fact.
"It's not a docu-opera. It's not a biopic," Turnage said. "We're making a drama out of it. This is entertainment -- a romp, before the end, which is the reverse."
Elaine Padmore, head of opera at the Royal Opera House, sees no reason why Smith shouldn't be included with the great women of opera.
"Bad girls have always been the stuff of opera," she said. "Think of Carmen and Traviata. Why shouldn't Anna Nicole join opera's women?"
As for the overall tone of the show, Turnage and Thomas insist there's more to 'Anna Nicole' -- both the opera and the person -- than meets the eye.
"She wasn't just this dumb blonde," Turnage said, adding that her life "touches on so many things, it seemed to encapsulate the 21st century."