According to the Guardian, the production is titled Last Days and it is being adapted from Gus Van Sant’s 2005 film of the same name, which itself was loosely inspired by Cobain’s passing. While the film centered on a young Seattle-based musician named Blake, the storyline is reminiscent of Cobain’s death.
The Royal Opera House reports that the opera, composed by Oliver Leith, “plunges into the torment that created a modern myth,” with the central character “haunted by objects, visitors and memories distracting him from his true purpose – self destruction.”
Leith told The Guardian that he was a “massive” Nirvana fan and that their music “soundtracked my teens. It’s some of the first music I learned to play on guitar. I owe a lot of how I make music to the sound of grunge from that time. I had never really thought about where my experimental mess and repetitions had come from.”
The composer adds that he follows Van Sant’s lead in not sensationalizing the death. “We know it is coming. It is used as a lens through which we see everyday somnambulistic life heightened. For example, telling a delivery person to ‘come back another day’ is loaded with tragedy. I think opera also raises the stakes of the quotidian,” he added.
Last Days is due to be staged this October at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre in London.
The 28th anniversary of Cobain’s death just passed on April 5. The original Last Days film, which starred Michael Pitt and Lukas Hass, grossed $2.4 million worldwide, $463,000 of which came from moviegoers in the U.S. and Canada.