'Last Days' opera, based on Kurt Cobain-inspired film, making US premiere

Gus Van Sant‘s 2005 film Last Days offers a fictionalized account of the final days of Kurt Cobain‘s life through a musician named Blake. The film inspired an opera by the same name, which premiered in London’s Linbury Theatre in 2022, and now it’s making its way to Los Angeles for its US premiere. It happens on February 6 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and tickets are on sale now.

The production will star Agathe Rousselle as Blake, Isaiah Musik-Ayala as a groundskeeper, James Hayden as a private investigator, Mimi Doulton as a delivery driver and housemate, Patricia Auchterlonie as a superfan, Edmund Danon as a housemate, Arnold Livingston Geis as a Mormon and housemate, Kathryn Shuman as a Mormon and housemate, and Sam Dash as a magician. It’s composed by Oliver Leith, conducted by Thomas Adès, with Matt Copson and Anna Morrissey co-directing, set design by Grace Smart, lighting design by Prema Mehta, sound design by Sound Intermedia, costumes by Balenciaga, and costume styling by Patrick Weldé

In their review of the London production, The Guardian writes, “as it always should be in an opera, what articulates and drives the drama is the score. Most of Leith’s vocal lines are deliberately dislocated, their stresses never falling where you expect them to, though there are some exceptions – a couple of ensembles, in which the voices dovetail in moments of touching beauty, and a soaring verismo-style number ‘Non Voglio Mai Vedere Il Sole Tramontare’, composed by Leith and pre-recorded by the US singer-songwriter Caroline Polachek, that’s first heard as Blake absently plays an unmistakably Nirvana-like riff on his guitar in the opera’s only explicit Cobain reference.”

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