Saturday 3 December 2016

Anna Nicole's life all set to raise the roof

Jill Lawless

Published 17/02/2011 | 05:00

Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek is seen as Anna Nicole
Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek is seen as Anna Nicole

It's a rags-to-riches story with sex, drugs, vast wealth and family tragedy. Perfect material for an opera.

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Still, Britain's venerable Royal Opera raised some eyebrows when it announced that its next production would be based on the short, sensational life of Playboy Playmate-turned-tabloid-superstar Anna Nicole Smith.

'Anna Nicole,' which opens today, comes with an impeccable cast and crew -- and a warning of "extreme language, drug abuse and sexual content".

Smith was just 39 when she died of an accidental drug overdose in February 2007, after a life documented in magazines and tabloids, on reality TV and in testimony from a series of court cases.

Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek plays Smith, with baritone Gerald Finley as her lawyer-turned-boyfriend, Howard K Stern.

Smith's story is luridly larger-than-life. A single mother from Texas, she reinvented herself as a voluptuous blonde bombshell and worked her way up from topless dancer to heiress via Playboy and reality TV.

In 1994, she married J Howard Marshall, an oil tycoon 63 years her senior, whom she met in a Houston strip club.

When he died 14 months later, she battled with his family over his estimated $1.6bn (€1.17bn) estate. The case rumbles on, four years after her death.

Irish Independent

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