A young Playboy model, an octogenarian billionaire husband, intrusive media fascination and a tragically early death. This is a roller-coaster of a real contemporary life for a blockbuster of a contemporary opera by the acclaimed opera composer Mark-Anthony Turnage (Greek and The Silver Tassie) and librettist Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer: the Opera). The story of Anna Nicole Smith is under the brilliant and idiosyncratic direction of Richard Jones and the baton of Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera, to make this a major event of the Royal Opera Season. Sex, extreme language and drug abuse are part of the opera – after all, they were ingredients in a life that went from the dubious glamour of the sex symbol, through long and vicious legal struggles to a fatal overdose. How Anna Nicole was treated and how she was viewed is as much a reflection of the society that hounded her as of her own feelings and ambitions – Eva-Maria Westbroek creates what is a challenging and complex central role. This new opera is provocative in its themes, exciting in its bravura style and thrilling with its sheer contemporary nerve. Anna Nicole Smith’s life made the news – you can bet this world premiere will too.
The Royal Opera House is an opera house and major performing arts venue in the London district of Covent Garden. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.
The current building is the third theatre on the site following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1857. The façade, foyer and auditorium date from 1858, but almost every other element of the present complex dates from an extensive reconstruction in the 1990s. The Royal Opera House seats 2,268 people and consists of four tiers of boxes and balconies and the amphitheatre gallery. The proscenium is 12.20 m wide and 14.80 m high. The main auditorium is a Grade 1 listed building.