Francesconi gets rights to 'Spiritual Matter'

An unproduced Ingmar Bergman film script, “A Spiritual Matter,” is being made into an opera written by Italian composer Luca Francesconi.

The opera is based on a story from the Bergman book “Performances,” published in 2000, which consisted of three earlier unproduced scripts, “Faithless,” “Love Without Lovers” and “A Spiritual Matter.”

“Faithless” was made into a 2000 film helmed by Liv Ullman. Bergman had refused it being made into a film as long as the real-life characters in the script were still alive.

“A Spiritual Matter” was written by Bergman as a radio play, broadcast in 1990 with actress Jane Friedmann. He also wanted to make a film in one long closeup with only one actress. But the actress he wanted to take part declined, and Bergman lost faith in the project.

Early last year, Francesconi tried to get in touch with Bergman in order to talk about turning the story, about a woman who suffers psychological problems after her husband’s death, into an opera. The filmmaker died before contact could be established. After intially having been turned down by the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, Francesconi finally managed to get the rights to the script, convincing the board of the foundation that Bergman would have liked the idea. The foundation has given him permission to shorten the script, as long as he does not make any changes in it.

In a comment, he said: “There is no reason to change anything. It is a fantastic script, a fantastic character and very well-written scenes.”

The finished opera will premiere at the yearly music festival in Aix-en-Provence, France.

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