Mark Campbell's 'The Shining' Delivers Spine-Chilling Horror at Minnesota Opera

By Philip Trapp on May 10, 2016 10:27 AM EDT

Librettist Mark Campbell opened his stage adaptation of The Shining last week at Minnesota Opera. Based on Stephen King's horror novel turned silver-screen-psychological-nightmare by director Stanley Kubrick, the production is a collaboration between Campbell and Pulitzer-winning composer Paul Moravec.

The opera stars Brian Mulligan as failed writer Jack Torrance (a part made famous by Jack Nicholson in the 1980 film) with Kelly Kaduce as his wife, Wendy. Lyricist Campbell, who built the story from King's text rather than Kubrick's screenplay, revealed to the Washington Post his hopes for a fearful audience reaction:

"I want them to be moved by the story. I want them to be scared," Campbell said. "I would love if this were the first opera in history that engendered a response from an audience that was: 'Don't go in there!' -- the way a horror film does."

Both King's 1977 creation and Kubrick's screen version are revered works of popular fiction. Multiple theories abound concerning the 2001: A Space Oyssey director's true intentions in his presentation of King's first bestselling novel. In an interview with Michel Ciment, Kubrick recalled reading King's harrowing narrative:

"I thought it was one of the most ingenious and exciting stories of the genre I had read. It seemed to strike an extraordinary balance between the psychological and the supernatural in such a way as to lead you to think that the supernatural would eventually be explained by the psychological."

The Shining was one of Stanley Kubrick's final feature films, followed only by Full Metal Jacket in 1987 and 1999's Eyes Wide Shut. The motion picture is still today the subject of conspiracy theories and internet lore, including one particularly outlandish contention suggesting the movie's deviations from the book are Kubrick's coded disclosure of his faking the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing.

The limited engagement of The Shining at Minnesota Opera is currently showing until May 15. Tickets available at

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Tags2001: A Space Odyssey, Brian Mulligan, Jack Nicholson, Kelly Kaduce, Mark Campbell, Minnesota Opera, Paul Moravec, Stanley Kubrick, Stephen King, The Shining, The Shining Opera

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