Marnie hits the theatres

Marnie hits the theatres

Grammy Award-winning American mezzo SaSha Cooke discusses Marnie - the new opera exploring feminine strength and vulnerability

Film buffs may remember Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960s cinematic interpretation of Winston Graham’s novel Marnie – a psychological thriller starring Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. Now this compelling story, centred around the price of freedom and a nagging inescapable past, will be told through contemporary classical music composer Nico Muhly’s captivating new opera, which will make its debut at the London Coliseum in collaboration with the English National Opera.

"Opera adds another dimension ands makes it a little more real. There are more expressive possibilities"

Grammy Award-winning American mezzo Sasha Cooke (pictured) will take on the title role of the embezzling young woman. ‘Opera adds another dimension and makes it a little more real. There are more expressive possibilities,’ she says. ‘In the film version Tippi Hedren kept her cards close to her chest and was very subdued, almost like a wounded animal. In the opera there are monologues where Marnie reveals all of her inner feelings and gets to be a strong character and show dimension.’ Despite being set in the 1960s, Marnie‘s misogynistic and dark themes still feel relevant today. ‘Women still struggle in the same way,’ reflects Sasha.

‘Manipulative behaviour still happens but the difference is that now we are talking about it.’ So how does the opera tackle these topics from a modern perspective? ‘Marnie deals with her issues in a pronounced, extreme way and that is liberating for audiences to see. It’s intense but it’s also rejuvenating,’ she explains.

18 November – 3 December; eno.org

  • Words: Rebecca Parker

  • Poster: Rose

  • Photography: Dario Acosta