Now television viewers can judge for themselves. Anna Nicole, the Mark-Anthony Turnage opera that generated reams of newspaper coverage when it received its world premiere at Covent Garden last month, is to be shown on BBC Four on Friday.
The opera, which charts the rise and dramatic downfall of Anna Nicole Smith, was loved and loathed in equal measure by critics and audience members, though soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek received almost universal acclaim in the role of the controversial Texan model herself.
Added to the attractions of Turnage’s darkly jazzy score was a sassy Richard Thomas libretto that pulled no punches in its treatment of Smith’s former partner, Howard J Stern – a risky business seeing that the lawyer is still alive and able to sue. However, with an initial run of just six performances, all sold out, many who wanted to see Anna Nicole were unable to do so.
Anna Nicole will be shown on BBC Four at 9pm on Friday 25 March.