Sunday, November 15, 2009 'Letters of a Love Betrayed brings South America to the Traverse'

[Eleanor Alberga]
From The Sunday Times
"Passion, betrayal and love in a hot climate. Colombian landscapes and Jamaican rhythm combine in a new opera
It’s takes a certain creative chutzpah to rewrite a short story by Isabel Allende, a writer widely regarded as the genre’s foremost living female practitioner, and then ask her what she thinks. It was with some trepidation, therefore, that the writer and director Donald Sturrock adapted her tale, Letters of a Love Betrayed, from The Stories of Eva Luna, as a libretto, adding two new characters for good measure.

"When he popped it in the post to her agent in Barcelona for approval, he was prepared for Allende, with her famously fiery South American temper, to take him to task for his tinkering. After all, the project could not proceed without her permission. Allende, however, was delighted with the result. 'She didn’t ask why I’d added two new characters,' he says, with a fleeting hint of triumph in his voice. 'We just got the message back saying she really liked it, all the best with it, and that she wanted to know when it was going to happen.'

"For Sturrock and his collaborator, the Jamaican-born composer Eleanor Alberga, it was the validation of several years’ hard work. Although great strides are being made in the promotion of contemporary opera, Sturrock and Alberga, both successful in their fields, had to battle through five years of rejection letters before John Lloyd Davies, head of development at the Royal Opera House, accepted it through the company’s OperaGenesis programme." [Eleanor Alberga is profiled at; her website is]

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