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'Breaking Bad' the Opera? New York Symphony House Announces Plans to Adapt 'Ozymandias'

By Julia Lynn Rubin | Oct 08, 2013 07:41 PM EDT

Breaking Bad To Arrive In 4K With 5.1 Surround Sound This June: Netflix
Breaking Bad To Arrive In 4K With 5.1 Surround Sound This June: Netflix (Photo : AMC)

"Ozymandias," one of the gut-wrenching, emotionally charged final episodes of AMC's hit series "Breaking Bad," struck a chord with more than just fans and critics, as a New York-based symphony house plans to adapt it into an opera, Time magazine reports.

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In the third-to-last episode of the series, which reached its conclusion on Sept. 29 in a finale that tied many of the show's loose ends together, "Ozymandias" inspired "A Song of Ice and Fire" author George R. R. Martin to write on his Livejournal blog that to him, "Walter White is a bigger monster than anyone in Westeros."

The episode received universal critical praise and has been called one of the best episodes of television history, on par with the finale of "The Wire." Opening with a flashback to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman's first cook together and ending in Walt in pure despair, heading off into the unknown to receive his new identity after emotionally devastating his entire family.

With plenty of tragic elements to work with, perhaps "Ozymandias" could make for a terrifying and bittersweet opera.

On the One World Symphony's website, Sung Jin Hong wrote that he has decided to compose, "Breaking Bad - Ozymandias (2014)" as a mini-opera, embracing the moral chaos by turning Shelley's sonnet into a "single metaphor for pride," a theme that encapsulates much of the show and Walter White's devolution.

"Cancer became an allegory for evil for the protagonist in Breaking Bad," Hong writes. "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?'"

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