She has been running for so long, no one knows the real Marnie, least of all herself…
On October 19, composer Nico Muhly’s third opera Marnie will have its New York premiere at The Metropolitan Opera. Premiered in 2017 by English National Opera, Muhly’s latest opera is a gripping reimagining of Winston Graham’s novel (famously adapted by Alfred Hitchcock) with a libretto by Nicholas Wright. Michael Mayer directs the production and Isabel Leonard sings the role of Marnie.
Marnie is a compelling psychological thriller set in England during the late 1950s. It examines the cost of freedom, the limitations of forgiveness, and the impossibility of escaping the past. A young woman, Marnie, makes her way through life by embezzling from her employers, before she moves on and changes her identity. When her current boss Mark Rutland catches her red-handed, he blackmails her into a loveless marriage. Marnie is left with no choice but to confront the hidden trauma from her past.
Watch a video with Nico Muhly, Michael Mayer, and Isabel Leonard on Marnie
Following Muhly's critically acclaimed Two Boys in 2011, Marnie is the composer's second commission from The Metropolitan Opera. Performances will take place on October 19, 22, 27, 31 and November 3, 7, 10.
Purchase tickets and read full details on The Metropolitan Opera website
"The score has passages of undeniable beauty. Muhly twins each protagonist with an orchestral instrument. An oboe, by turns elegant and shrill, probes Marnie's psyche. Growling trombones suggest Mark's desire, while a trumpet, sleazy yet poised, conveys Terry's louche charm. A lyrical warmth characterizes Muhly's vocal lines, and the choral writing, geared to the ENO chorus for whom Muhly has expressed great admiration, is tremendous…"
— Tim Ashley, The Guardian
"All the life, the interest here is in the orchestra, whose jittery, near-constant motion and glinting, metallic textures (high flutes, oboe and tuned percussion provide a sequined play of light through the limpid scoring) mirror the ticking, calculating mind of Marnie herself… Wiping off some of the story's grubbier finger-marks, Muhly and librettist Nicholas Wright reveal a love story — twisted, but unmistakable — beneath."
— Alexandra Coghlan, Independent
"It makes sense that Mr. Muhly, whose great passion is for the English church vocal tradition, gives Marnie a quartet of 'shadows,' female singers who surround and sometimes echo her in the cool, vibratoless mode of a Renaissance madrigal. It's weird and memorable and only Mr. Muhly would have — could have — done it."
— Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
"The chorus shines: Muhly is at his most imaginative when writing for them, and the temperature rises for their scenes in a bar and at a fox hunt."
— Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph
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Quote: English National Opera