>"The Symbol Of A Binge"

>The Royal Opera House, London, is about to premiere a new work about, of all heroines, Anna Nicole Smith.

Nowadays any celebrity who misbehaves is likely to be called a diva, but Anna Nicole will soon have a legitimate right to the name: she is to be played at Covent Garden by the Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek, acclaimed everywhere for her impassioned performances in Wagner and Strauss, Verdi and Puccini. Ever since receiving Turnage’s score, Westbroek has been puzzling over the motives of the woman whose skin she will have to inhabit. “Why would you do that to yourself? Where does that come from?” she wondered in a recent interview. She has decided that Anna Nicole was driven, like Salome, by an erotic compulsion that compelled her to destroy herself: “I find her fascinating and tragic because she really went for death.”

I can see this working. She was, judging from the press she got while alive, somehow fascinating, in the way a highway accident makes you look as you drive by. There were certainly enough “events” in her life for a good melodrama. Lulu and Manon Lescaut were nice, ordinary girls in comparison.

It’s a short run, from February 17 through March 4, so if you’re in London…

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