The life and death of Anna Nicole Smith has provided endless fodder for the tabloids, E! Entertainment television, and every other episode of Larry King Live, but her story hasn’t strayed into the realm of high art. Until now. Britain’s esteemed Royal Opera announced yesterday that it’s planning an opera based on Smith’s life, with music by Mark-Anthony Turnage, a respected composer known for his strong jazz influence, and libretto by Richard Thomas, who delved into low culture before in co-creating Jerry Springer: The Opera. It all sounds laughable until you consider the particulars of Smith’s biography, which is the stuff of great melodrama: The Playboy lifestyle, the substance abuse, the marriage to an octogenarian oil tycoon and the legal wrangles that followed, the death of her 20-year-old son from an overdose, and the ugly paternity issues in the wake of her own death, just to name a few highlights. Casting seems tricky, though: How to find a soprano who looks like a grotesque, cosmetically enhanced cartoon version of Marilyn Monroe and can also belt out arias while projecting a drugged-out, mealy-mouthed malaise? Not an easy task.