Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Fly: The Opera




I haven’t been so excited about a world premiere of an opera in a few years as I have been on “The Fly” – which received its world premiere in Paris (at the Chatelet) last night. David Cronenberg and Howard Shore have re-fashioned the gorgeous nightmare of the 1986 film blending sci-fi and horror and added opera singers and stage limitations and Placido Domingo (yes, the granddaddy of opera) into their magically delicious macabre party mix.

I’m an optimistic son-of-a-gun and am hoping that the lack of reviews in today’s Parisian papers means “good news” . . . . but the silence can also mean last night’s prima was a critical flop. They spent a boatload of money on the physical production, Shore has composed some of his most inspired and tuneful music, Domingo is involved in another world premiere (this time as conductor) and there isn’t a single review out? I’d wager that if the thing had been a hit with the critics, the presses would’ve been rolling out “special editions” by now. I’m kidding (about the special edition business) I know how the press works these days, but I would have expected that at least something would’ve appeared in online versions. Instead the Daily Telegraph and other British news journals have written “about” the work today, but not one of them has provided a real review.

I’ve been able to sneak peaks into several blogs which were mixed at best, but mostly written by not opera-savvy youngsters who basically were cult-like fans of the ’86 film.

The clips and photographs I saw look absolutely incredible and the music I heard (less than 5 minutes worth) sounded approachable and eerily beautiful.

Shore (who composed the original score for the film) said he envisioned “The Fly” as an opera from the moment they began working on the film in the 1980’s. I thought it was enormously operatic when first I saw it back in my early 20’s and I’ve been very excited about this one (not so excited ‘bout the Brokeback opera from Chuck Wuorinen scheduled for City Opera, nor some other film-to-opera projects I’ve heard about.)

With all of the updated stagings occurring in the world of opera these days, Mr. Cronenberg has moved his “present day” tale BACK in time to the 1950’s – the heyday of the great sci-fi/horror flicks and the photos reveal a production that is absolutely stunning in every regard.

Check out the website for photos, video clips, production notes and design plans, etc.

http://www.theflytheopera.com/

I would love to get to Paris for this. Hell, I may fly to abysmal Los Angeles for this in a couple of months!

Hopefully, as with many much publicized European productions these days, this one will find a release on DVD. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this – one of my favorite movies from the 80’s – really “crosses over.”

p.

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