Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh was as famous for his madness as his work: perennially cranky, blasted out of his mind on Absinthe, and mental illness all made for chillingly gorgeous, shimmery visions on canvas full of vibrant colors and kinetic brush strokes. Why no one thought to make him the protagonist of an opera sooner has been answered by Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, who've commissioned a new opera on the life of the tortured painter to premiere in Spring 2011 for Indiana University.
The opera has been composed by Bernard Rands who carried around his Van Gogh love from over 30 years ago when he was living in Amsterdam, impacted by visits to Netherlands' famous Van Gogh Museum. Rands collaborated with librettist (poet, and editor of The Yale Review) J. D. McClatchy. Both McClatchy and Rands read through Van Gogh's personal correspondence for inspiration.
But don't expect the opera to pity the lunatic Van Gogh. McClatchy explained, "The challenge with Vincent is how to portray not only a difficult life filled with unhappiness, poverty, neglect, madness and suicide, but how to link that desperation with his inspiration. His life was a wrenching paradox. He sold only a couple of paintings in his lifetime, and he is now regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time."
Everyone knows that Van Gogh was the original emo.