Salman Rushdie's 'Shalimar the Clown' Premieres This Month at St. Louis Opera
A new opera based on the 2005 novel by writer Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown, will receive its world premiere this month at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Sir Rushdie, a British Indian novelist and fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 for his literary contributions. He is perhaps best known for his controversial 1988 tome, The Satanic Verses.
Shalimar the Clown is the eighth novel by the postcolonial author. A love story set in the historically disputed territory of Kashmir, Shalimar's storyline is described by Rushdie in a parallel of our modern extremist epoch to The Paris Review:
"In Shalimar, the character Max Ophuls is a resistance hero during World War II. The resistance, which we think of as heroic, was what we would now call an insurgency in a time of occupation. Now we live in a time when there are other insurgencies that we don't call heroic -- that we call terrorist."
In a recent interview with Vital VOICE, OTSL choreographer Sean Curran described his enthusiasm in preparing Rushdie's story for the opera stage:
"Shalimar is a premiere. No one's ever done the show. No one's ever seen the show. That's where the excitement lies. It's almost like making something from scratch. The composers have been working on it for years, and James Robinson, the director, has had a hand in how it's been shaped."
The author visited St. Louis earlier this spring to discuss the book with the theater's performance company. Shalimar, a tragic wartime romance, is a germane fable for operatic interpretation.
Rushdie, four-times divorced, is reported to be currently involved with New York fashion designer Melissa "Missy" Brody. The couple are pictured above at the NYC premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014.
Shalimar the Clown will be performed multiple times throughout the month at the Loretto Hilton Center at Webster University starting this Saturday, June 11. Tickets are available now at www.opera-stl.org.
Below, watch an excerpt of a workshop performance of Shalimar the Clown from the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Let us know what you think in the comments section.