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Which books would you love to turn into an opera or ballet?

From Animal Farm and Naked Lunch to Winnie the Pooh and Charlotte's Web, a few of your suggestions.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

6 March 2014 at 10.40am | 41 Comments

Which books would you love to turn into an opera or ballet?
Which existing adaptations do you enjoy?

This article has 41 comments

  1. Nick Arkle responded on 6 March 2014 at 11:06am Reply

    Gormenghast - opera ? (poss ballet) I believe Sting owns the rights for it ?

  2. Andrew Bourne responded on 6 March 2014 at 11:07am Reply

    I would quite like the kite runner or any of Alan Garner's fantasy novels

  3. Lee Norman responded on 6 March 2014 at 11:38am Reply

    Captain Pantoja and the Special Services by Mario Vargas Llosa. Also almost anything by Jorge Amado

  4. Micheline Decker responded on 6 March 2014 at 1:54pm Reply

    I always thought Harry Potter would make a great ballet

  5. Chandra responded on 6 March 2014 at 5:02pm Reply

    The Wings of the Dove by Henry James would make a great dramatic ballet. A dying heiress, clandestine lovers - imagine the pas de trois!

  6. Fiona responded on 6 March 2014 at 5:30pm Reply

    Possibilities of adapting literature for ballet seem pretty endless! So many children's books could work wonders as ballets if adapted well (i.e. 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', if it was done on the same scale as 'Alice'), also classics like 'Emma', 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Sense and Sensibility', 'Wuthering Heights', 'Jane Eyre', 'Great Expectations', 'Dracula', etc., too many to name! Lesser known fairy tales would be good and I love idea (above) of 'Gormenghast' for a ballet. More ballet should be adapted from books!

  7. So many books I've read but my mind goes blank trying to think of one as a ballet! Of those already ballets I love Onegin, and Manon .

  8. Vanity Fair?

  9. Linda responded on 6 March 2014 at 8:30pm Reply

    Any story would be great but you gotta keep it classical. I love stories like Swan lake but also stories like the sleeping beauty. Ballet is great, keep it like that.

  10. Angela Hurlstone responded on 6 March 2014 at 10:43pm Reply

    The Edwards by Vita Sackville-West would make an excellent ballet. This could doubtless result in some wonderful dance drama - Stephen McCrae would make an excellent Sebastian

  11. Lynne responded on 6 March 2014 at 11:59pm Reply

    I was also going to suggest "Pride and Prejudice" as a ballet - by Liam Scarlett please! Could be an opportunity for wonderful pas de deux, great characters, as well as colourful ballroom/country dance scenes with all the officers etc. - perfect for the Royal Ballet.

  12. I like Chandra's suggestion of Wings of the Dove. Venice, gondoliers leaping about, Venetian masked ball. Hope I've got the right book!

  13. The Singing, Ringing tree - it used to be on television in the 1960s - imported German tv adaptation but it was magical - a Princess who is spoilt and a Prince who comes to woo her but she spurns his advances, like so many others, however he has previously met a troll who says that if she does not accept him he has to agree to become his property and he turns him into a bear. the spell can only be broken if said Princess falls in love with him in this guise. Bloomin' marvellous - it would make a superb ballet or opera

  14. dee freeman responded on 10 March 2014 at 6:04pm Reply


  15. I would like to suggest "The Kite Runner" for ballet adaptation. Challenging, but I'm sure could make a great production.

  16. Angela Hurlstone responded on 5 March 2015 at 11:44am Reply

    I think Anna Karenina would be wonderful. I can imagine beautiful Marianella Nnunez as a stunning Anna, with Val Zuchetti as the erstwhile Vronsky.

  17. Chiara Barnato responded on 5 March 2015 at 11:52am Reply

    My dream is to see "wuthering heights" turned into a ballet!! I can immagine an amazing pas de deux for Catherine and Heathcliff...very romantic and passionate!!

  18. Richard Holliday responded on 5 March 2015 at 2:21pm Reply

    I would like The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe to be an opera

  19. Gulsen Cizmeli responded on 5 March 2015 at 2:29pm Reply

    Austen's "Pride and Prejudıce" would make a wonderful opera or a ballet

  20. Ana Maria responded on 5 March 2015 at 2:48pm Reply

    I would appreciate "PART OF THE DEAD PRINCESS - Kenizé Mourad". I think it would be a great Opera.

  21. Brett Goldman responded on 5 March 2015 at 3:37pm Reply

    when I was young all I ever wanted was to be a choreographer ...and there were three works I had imagined as ballets

    Madame Bovary

    Phaedre ( the play by Racine )

    and Paul Galico's The Snow Goose

    • Steve Kane responded on 17 March 2018 at 5:52pm

      Oh Yes, the Snow Goose, novellas are a better fit for a two or even three acter, and there needs to be this tinge of deep mythology of great events off stage too.

  22. Matthew responded on 5 March 2015 at 3:48pm Reply

    Harry Potter

  23. Peter Vintner responded on 5 March 2015 at 5:21pm Reply

    May I suggest "A Christmas Carol", as an alternative to The Nutcracker?

  24. What about "Gone with the Wind"?

  25. A full length ballet of Gone With the Wind?

  26. Many interesting suggestions!

  27. Brett Goldman responded on 5 March 2015 at 7:42pm Reply

    I also think Margaret Atwood's
    The Handmaid's Tale would make a riveting yet disturbing ballet !

  28. Andrej Galanow responded on 5 March 2015 at 9:38pm Reply

    My favorite and would really be happy to dance it - "Idiot" Dostoevsky

  29. Fred Devore responded on 7 March 2015 at 3:16am Reply

    Pansflorawood the musical would make a beautiful ballet of fairies and birds!
    A story for all ages.

  30. Coppelia responded on 8 March 2015 at 7:04pm Reply

    Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden. Picture the Himalayan backdrop and the Palace of Mopu recreated on the Covent Garden stage ... imagine the Pas de trois between Sister Clodagh (Lauren Cuthbertson) and Mr Dean (Federico Bonelli) and Sister Ruth (Sarah Lamb), the pas de deux with Kanchi and the young general, imagine Gary Avis as the holy man! Its got infatuation, jealousy, madness, violence, could be the next Mayerling!

  31. How about something new and different for the whole family that all ages will enjoy. Pansflorawood is a fantasy adventure where an Elven wedding is interrupted by a villainous vampire bat and two mischievous magpies that ruffle the feathers of the Birds of paradise performing arts troupe of singers and dancers from around the world.

  32. Juha I responded on 9 August 2016 at 12:47pm Reply

    Das Kapital

  33. Ballet for Guys by Will Kern

  34. Sarah responded on 9 August 2016 at 2:09pm Reply

    Harry Potter of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe!

  35. Andrea A responded on 9 August 2016 at 4:34pm Reply

    I would love to see Don Juan Tenorio as a ballet.
    Its a very interesting and special character.
    I love stories like Eugene Onegin, and the ballet is also amazing.

  36. tabitha responded on 9 August 2016 at 5:23pm Reply

    19TH CENTURY CLASSICS: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (It talks about dance so often!) It would be so emotional and would have an interesting approach to it!

  37. Monique Ziegler responded on 9 August 2016 at 11:30pm Reply

    I would like "Pride and prejudice" becomes an opera !

  38. Mary Le Mage responded on 20 August 2016 at 11:54am Reply

    I would like to see Dr Zhivago as a ballet

  39. Leonardo Bautista responded on 15 January 2019 at 11:17pm Reply

    Operas: José Saramago's "Blindness" and "The ghospel according to Jesus Christ" and Iain M. Banks' "Surface Detail"

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