As If It Couldn’t Get Any Creepier, Neil Gaiman’s ‘Coraline’ Is Becoming an Opera

Coraline, the 2002 novel by Neil Gaiman, has already been adapted into a graphic novel, a film, and a musical.  Now the terrifying tale is being turned into an opera.


Coraline Opera Creepy

Image Via Barbican


This new adaptation of the story is composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage with text written by Rory Mullarky.  Two singers, Robyn Allegra Parton and Mary Bevan, are sharing the title role as it is too taxing for one person to sing more than once a day.  Kitty Whately plays the pivotal role of the mother and Other Mother.


The opera largely maintains the creepy aesthetic of the book. The Other Mother still has her big, black button eyes, this time sewn with red thread and worn by the actress through the use of a goggle-like device. The music is similar in both worlds in the story, but it helps set the mood as it takes on a more sinister and distorted quality once Coraline enters the other world.


Coraline Opera

Image Via Barbican


The production has been rated as suitable for audiences age eight and older. When questioned about whether or not the creepier aspects of the story needed to be toned down, Turnage told The Guardian, “There is a school of thought that says you should protect children from scary stories. I think that’s ridiculous. It’s what growing up is all about.” This largely echoes the sentiment expressed by Gaiman himself in the introduction of the tenth-anniversary edition of the book where he says that being brave doesn’t mean that you aren’t scared:


“Being brave means you are scared, really scared, badly scared, and you do the right thing anyway.”


Coraline will be at the Barbican in London from March 29th through April 7th.


Feature Image Via Stark After Dark