William Hayes He was 22 when he was arrested at Istanbul airport for smuggling hashish. He was first sentenced to four years in prison, then to life in prison. He escaped from prison and wrote an autobiographical book which was turned into a film in Alan Parker “The Midnight Express”‘, which received two oscars. Drug addiction is present in operas “Anne-Nicole“O”Requiem for a Lost Girl” and in the version of “Don Giovanniby Calixto Beito.
There are, an American student, was caught with hashish attached to his body in Turkey in 1970. He was initially sentenced to four years and two months in prison on the grounds that the drug was for his own use. A few weeks before his release, he was sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking. During his time in prison, he suffered numerous tortures and was raped. In 1975, he managed to escape Greece.
Hayes wrote a book about his Turkish adventures, midnight express, which in 1978 was adapted into a film with the same title, starring Brad Davis as Hayes. Allan Parker directed the film and Pierre Olivier wrote the screenplay. The film portrays Turks as bloodthirsty corrupt and harshly criticizes police brutality and the Turkish justice system, including lawyers. He received two Oscars.
During Cannes film festival since 1999a Turkish journalist, tracked down Billy Hayes and interviewed him about the film midnight express. Hayes expressed disappointment with parts of the film adaptation, particularly its portrayal of Turks as evil, and lamented that Turkey’s image was negatively affected by the film. Hayes also implied that has a certain affection for Turkey and for Istanbul. Although the recommendation given by the Interpol was not expected to return to the country, he explained that he wanted to return but was reluctant to do so as he feared the Turks would blame him for the negative publicity the film had given them. The video of the interview is available on YouTube.
Hayes eventually returned to Turkey in June 2007 to attend the second conference on democracy and global security in Istanbul, organized by the Turkish National Police (NPT) and for him Turkish Police Institute (TIPS), to erase the negative implications of the book. He held a press conference and apologized to the Turkish people.
The subject of drugs appears in English opera Turning “Anna Nicole” premiered in 2011. The opera chronicles the life of Anna Nicole who was addicted to drugs.
Anna Nicole was exotic dancer and prostitute. Among the customers of his premises was billionaire oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall. At the same time he met attorney howard stern. In March and May 1992, it was the cover of Playboy, In 1993, she was chosen playmate of the year. The following year, she married Howard Marshall who promised her half of his fortune as an inheritance. The age difference was 64 years. She was 26 and 90 years old. The marriage only lasted six months because Marshall died of a heart attack. The billionaire did not keep his promise to leave him half of his assets and a series of lawsuit to claim an inheritance which lasted ten years. The inheritance claim lawsuit was initially upheld, but Anna Nicole lost the call.
After the death of her husband Anna married her lawyer. On September 7, 2006, Anna had a daughter, who was registered under the surname of her lawyer husband. Four days after the birth of her daughter, the son from her first marriage died.. He was 20 years old. The death was due to a drug overdose and Anna’s lawyer husband was charged with manslaughter for supplying him with drugs. Barely six months later, in February 2007 Anne also died of a drug overdose. He was 40 years old.
Another opera about drug addiction is “Requiem for a Lost Girl” from Onalea Gilbertson created in 2017 at vancouver opera house. The Canadian singer-songwriter knows drug addiction well: at 15, her best friend of the same age became a drug addict. She devoted herself to prostitution to pay for her vice and ended up murdered by a client. The opera is a memory to her friend.
We have a recent example of drug addiction in “Don Giovanni” by Mozart Calixto Beito (Miranda de Ebro, Burgos 1963). manufacturing in the Royal Theater of Madrid created during the Covid shows us a Don Giovanni drug addict who needs the boost of energy that drugs give him for his sexual conquests. It is a coherent vision that impacts the viewer through fascinating settings.
american composer Matthew Neri announces in 2017 that he will write an opera on Pablo Escobar which would premiere at the Dallas Opera but the project has yet to materialize.
Listening to and watching operas can be a wonderful drug that fills us with positive energy and improves our intelligence and sensitivity..
Today’s link is the movie “Midnight Express” in its original version.