| 7.1°C Dublin

Saoirse film set to hit right note as an opera

It has already been transformed into an Oscar-winning movie, and now Ian McEwan's widely-acclaimed novel Atonement is to get the opera treatment.

The best-selling author and two friends are working on an adaptation which would bring the doomed love story, starring Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan and James McAvoy in the big screen version, to the stage.

Poet Craig Raine will write the words and composer and radio presenter Michael Berkeley is set to write the music.

"It's not a chamber piece, that's for sure," McEwan.

"You can do some very big dramatic things with this.

"If you were thinking of a large-scale opera then what springs to mind is 380,000 troops on the beaches of Dunkirk. That would be quite a choir."

Set in an England of class divisions and war, the 2001 novel Atonement was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The opera could premiere in 2013. After that, McEwan and Berkeley were said to harbour a long-held ambition to pen a musical.