Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010

Atonement opera in the pipeline

Keira Knightley and James McAvoy in Atonement
Keira Knightley and James McAvoy starred in the film of Atonement

Having inspired an Oscar-winning film in 2007, Ian McEwan's novel Atonement is to be turned into an opera.

The author revealed the plans at the Southbank Centre in London on Thursday during a discussion event with composer and Radio 3 presenter Michael Berkeley.

Berkeley will write the music, with the poet Craig Raine writing the libretto after McEwan himself decided not to.

According to Berkeley, however, McEwan will have a "creative input" into the production, set to premiere in 2013.

"We're going to have several meetings with him so he can feed into what we're doing," he told the BBC News website.

Love story

McEwan, currently working on a screenplay based on his novella On Chesil Beach, collaborated with Berkeley on an oratorio in 1982 and on a small-scale opera, For You, in 2008.

Berkeley said he was approached last summer by a German opera house - which he declined to name - over the potential for an Atonement opera.

While it is likely the opera will have its premiere in Germany, he said, the piece will be written and sung in English.

Set before, during and after World War II, Atonement tells of a tragic love story between a beautiful aristocrat and a young soldier.

Keira Knightley and James McAvoy played the roles in Joe Wright's film, which won two Baftas and one Oscar in 2008.

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