Monday, August 25, 2008

Highbrow Horror: The Fly The Opera

I imagine there are some closeted science fiction fans out there who are embarrassed to be seen holding a novel with a lurid cover or telling their coworkers about attending a horror film festival. If you are in the Los Angeles area, you can now have your B-movie-style entertainment and still tell your friends you spent Saturday night at the theater. All you have to do is buy tickets to The Fly The Opera, which will run at the LA Opera September 7-27.

This is a major production, with music composed by Howard Shore, who scored Lord of the Rings, libretto by David Henry Hwang, who won a Tony for his play M. Butterfly, conducted by Plácido Domingo, and directed by David Cronenberg, director of the 1986 movie version of The Fly. The opera retains the classic horror story of the original movie: a scientist decides to test a teleportation device on himself, but a fly is inadvertently trapped in the machine with him. The result is a monster created from the fusion of man and fly.

The opera premiered at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in July, to mixed reviews:
Eric Dahan of Libération said Mr. Shore had “perhaps overestimated his ability to write a lyric work,” while Christian Merlin wrote in Le Figaro that the production “confirmed that cinema and theater, above all opera, are two very different arts.”

In Le Monde, while praising the soloists, Renaud Machart described Mr. Shore’s score as that of “a moderately gifted pupil of Arnold Schoenberg.” He also lamented, somewhat oddly, that the movie’s gory close-ups of decomposing flesh could not be reproduced on stage.

Even if it doesn't live up to the best of theater or cinema, this "engrossing exploration of the physical and psychological transformation" would make for an interesting night at the opera.

Watch the show's podcast to learn more about the sound and look of the program.

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1 comment:

JD Atlanta said...

In a parallel universe, this was made into a "heartwarming" weekly TV show.

JD Atlanta

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