Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

McEwan opera has London premiere

Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan's novels include Amsterdam and Saturday

An opera featuring a libretto by Booker prize-winning novelist Ian McEwan has had its first performance in London.

For You, about an arrogant composer who yearns for the thrills of his youth, is being staged at the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio.

McEwan said he had been "half bullied" into collaborating with the composer Michael Berkeley, a long-time friend.

The author added he deliberately chose themes of sex, obsession and adultery because he believed they suited opera.

"You need something bold, something savage, unpredictable, passionate," the 60-year-old told the Reuters news agency.


"You can't really run a two-hour opera round some muted murmuring."

McEwan and Berkeley previously collaborated on the oratorio Or Shall We Die? more than 25 years ago.

The Atonement author wrote the For You libretto at the same time as On Chesil Beach, his Booker-nominated novel.

For You continues at the Linbury Studio until Saturday before travelling to Cardiff and Durham.

Berkeley, who created the work for Music Theatre Wales, said he was working on an expanded version.

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