Wrestling With a ‘Lolita’ Opera and Losing

Daniel J. Wakin in the New York Times:

In an introduction to the score for his “Darkbloom: Overture for an Imagined Opera,” which will have its premiere with the Boston Symphony Orchestra tonight, John Harbison calls the piece the remnant of a misguided project, an “unproduceable” opera based on a “famous and infamous” American novel.

What made it unproduceable, at least in part, was the Roman Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal involving priests and minors, Mr. Harbison said in an interview this week. The novel was Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” a work about a man’s passion for an adolescent girl.

“I suppose the subject matter never has been more socially unacceptable than it is now in the United States,” Mr. Harbison said. “Obviously I began to think more about that.”

More here.