A new opera based on the life of actress and model Anna Nicole Smith has premiered in London, to surprisingly positive first reviews.

Anna Nicole, which stars Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek in the title role, was composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage with libretto by Richard Thomas, who is best known for Jerry Springer: The Opera.

“I’ll eat my six-gallon hat if it’s not a stonking great hit,” concluded Rupert Christiansen’s five-star review in London’s Telegraph . “What makes this opera so exciting is that Turnage seems to have found precisely the right musical idiom for such a drama – an Americana, brashly orchestrated and violently propulsive which embraces jazz, blues, musical comedy, and lounge smooch so ingeniously and responsively as to transcend mere pastiche.”

The Independent ‘s Jessica Duchen was less generous with her rating (3 stars), but did declare Anna Nicole“a tremendous show, fast-paced, spare and concentrated.”

While Duchen suggests that the opera is tackling the right topic at the right time, there are many who disagree. The administers of Smith’s estate are said to be considering their legal options, having not been consulted with regard to the use of the late model’s...

This article is available online for Limelight subscribers. Log in to continue reading.

Not a subscriber? For a limited time our monthly digital subscription is only $3. Subscribe now and you will save 50% and have full access to our paywalled content and digital magazines.