Welcome to the operatic world of Wuornos!

This website is dedicated to Aileen Wuornos, who was executed in a Florida State Prison on October 9, 2002.

The 2001 World Premiere of Wuornos, the new opera by Carla Lucero, was a huge success. It’s place in history is due to two important factors: not only did it break new ground for the operatic repertoire, but it dared to tell the whole truth about Aileen Wuornos' tragic life. "Reality opera” may well be a new term brought about by this artistic endeavor.

Aileen Wuornos’ story has been the subject of books, documentaries, and two feature films, most recently Monster, starring Charlize Theron. As critics rave over the actress/model’s acting abilities in the title role, audiences maynot recognize that the real Aileen’s tragedy is backed by life long pain and suffering. But that’s Hollywood.

Killers are not born. They are created. As a culture, we must all take responsibility for the unchecked realities that lead to such an end. Aileen acted out monster-like behavior, and in the end she accepted responsibility for her actions. But we are all responsible for the “Aileens” in this world — a relative, friend, or neighbor who endures unimpeded physical and sexual violence, and eventually snaps and lashes out in anger against the world. Unrequited fury will inevitably become unbearable.

The opera Wuornos was first to tell Aileen’s entire story.

Welcome to this website. Please read the synopsis and gain some insight into Aileen Wuornos’ real-life struggles. Learn about the World Premiere of this very important new operatic work.

Wuornos, a tragic love story of operatic proportions

Wuornos had its World Premiere June 22-24, 2001 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. Bay Area composer and librettist Carla Lucero recounts the actual life story of Aileen Wuornos, the sex worker and murderess who ended up on death row for the killings of six men in Florida. Aileen, broken by eleven years of solitude on death row, and trapped by legal entanglement, asked the Florida Supreme Court to end the appeals process and set a date for her execution. Her wish was granted. She was put to death by lethal injection on October 9, 2002. She was 46 years old.

The opera examines Aileen’s upbringing and explores the cyclical nature of abuse. It presents a compassionate profile of a woman abused at every step of her life, including sexual abuse by her grandfather and the torturous treatment endured from the johns she served as a prostitute from the age of 13 until her arrest in 1991 at the age of 34. Wuornos also examines the evils of exploitation, putting the spotlight on those who profited from her sad story, including her lover, legal council, and those in the media, religion, and law enforcement.

Wuornos is the first opera to explore institutionalized abuse against women and children. Because of this, the production received critical note from politicians and others preferring to ignore the “whys” of the horrible story. Instead, they placed blame solely on the “monster,” and not Aileen Wuornos - the victim of a twisted psyche that resulted from years of abuse. Wuornos challenges these knee-jerk prejudices and asks audiences to reexamine abuse and exploitation and their effects.

2004 Carla Lucero.
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