When you first read the news that someone is creating an opera based on Breaking Bad, you’re tempted to sort of chuckle and say “oh, sure, that’s an original idea.” and go about your day. I admit, I did that when I first started reading about it.
But I did a bit of digging and the story behind this is actually cooler than you may realize.
Sung Jin Hong, artistic director and composer for the One World Symphony, announced that he’s “decided to compose Breaking Bad — Ozymandias (2014), a mini-opera based on the award-winning drama and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s sonnet for One World Symphony’s Addiction program on January 26-27, 2014.”
The One World Symphony’s vision shows their commitment to the local community by working with school programs and by raising funds for a number of charitable organizations.
Hong is still in the developmental stages with this, but his overall question for the opera is an interesting one. As he writes:
Cancer became an allegory for evil for the protagonist in Breaking Bad. When Walt White was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, we the audience emotionally supported him and forgave some of his actions, as they may have appeared to be justified. When the cancer went into remission, an intangible cancer was growing — his hubris and lust for power. Our sympathy began to slip as he transformed into the destructive Heisenberg. At this very moment, the details of Breaking Bad — Ozymandias (2014) may not be confirmed, but I hope to explore the question that the drama obsessively and hauntingly asked: “are we all breaking bad?”
You can read more about Breaking Bad — Ozymandias at the One World Symphony site.