Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the 1782 Choderlos de Laclos epistolary novel about bedroom and drawing room intrigue, has already spawned plays (most recently, the famed 1987 Royal Shakespeare Company production starring Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan) and two '80s films.
And now there's an opera, The Dangerous Liaisons, with music by Conrad Susa and a libretto by Philip Littel, that has its East Coast premiere Mar. 12 at the Washington Opera in D.C., which is under the artistic direction of Placido Domingo.
The work was first performed at the San Francisco Opera in 1994, with a cast led by the mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade as the Marquise de Merteuil. This time around, the star is mezzo Elizabeth Bishop -- no stranger to the role, as she was von Stade's understudy in San Francisco.
The other two leading roles, Vicomte de Valmont and Madame de Tourvel, are being played by baritone Dale Duesing and soprano Susan Patterson.
Director Colin Graham and set designer Gerard Howland, who worked on the original San Francisco production, are repeating their duties in D.C. Susa's music for the opera has been praised as being both tonal and dramatic.
And Librettist Littel is currently putting the finishing touches on his libretto for A Streetcar Named Desire, which -- with music by Andre Previn -- has its premiere in fall 1998 at the San Francisco Opera.
For information about Washington Opera's The Dangerous Liaisons, call (202) 295-2400.
--By Rebecca Paller