Born out of a passion for Pink Floyd’s album The Wall, Pierre Dufour and his Montreal Opera Company colleagues convinced former band frontman Roger Waters to allow the company to turn the 1979 concept album into an actual opera. Water’s request? Don’t make it into another terrible rock-based opera. And they didn’t.
“There are no guitars, there are no drum sets,” says Evans Mirageas, artistic director for Cincinnati Opera. “These are all opera singers.”
The music, written by composer Julien Bilodeau, instead focuses on rhythms and bridges from the album. It calls for a 70-piece orchestra, 48 chorus members, and eight soloists. Operagoers will recognize only bits of the show’s vocals, but the album’s major themes, such as abandonment and isolation, will not be lost. The story’s central character, Pink, portrayed by Nathan Keoughan, will work to overcome his inner demons and tear down the wall surrounding him—in true opera fashion, of course.
The idea to bring the piece to the Queen City for its U.S. debut took hold long before it premiered in Montreal in March. Glenn Plott, Cincinnati Opera’s director of productions, was visiting the city, heard of preliminary work on the show, and decided its next stop had to be Cincinnati.
Hundreds of tickets have already been sold to an international audience of opera and rock fans alike. “It’s familiar,” Mirageas says, “but they won’t know it [just] because they know the album.”
July 20, 21, 26, 28 & 31, 7:30 p.m., Music Hall, https://www.cincinnatiopera.org/the-wall/