Tuesday, June 24, 2008


The world premiere of the LA Opera/Théâtre du Châtelet-produced opera of David Cronenberg’s The Fly—first mentioned ‘round these parts in an Afterthoughts past—is set for July 2, 2008, at Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet, with subsequent performances on July 5, 8, 11, and 13.
LA Opera will then present The Fly in Los Angeles on September 7, at 2:00PM, for a month-long run at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, officially opening the Company’s 2008/09 Season.

Directed by Cronenberg, the opera is composed by long-time collaborator Howard Shore, with a libretto by David Henry Hwang.
The opera also serves to reunite the director with other long-time collaborators, sister Denise (Costume Design) and Stephan L. Dupuis (Makeup and Creature Design). Handling Makeup, Creature and Puppet Fabrication is Mark Rappaport’s Creature Effects, Inc. Before establishing Creature Effects, Inc., Rappaport worked as a puppeteer on the Chris Walas-directed The Fly II, when he was a mechanical engineer for CWI.
Set design is by veteran production designer Dante Ferretti.

Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch plays the title role of Seth Brundle, Romanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose plays Veronica Quaife, and Tristan und Isolde lead Gary Lehman plays Stathis Borans; Okulitch and Donose are making their LA Opera debuts.
The Fly will be conducted by LA Opera Broad General Director, Plácido Domingo.

Of The Fly, Domingo had this to say: “… there is no scientific formula for commissioning [an opera] but only one’s instinct when one listens to a composer’s already existing works. I have heard many of Howard Shore’s scores for such films as The Lord of the Rings and, of course, The Fly and knew that here was a musician who should write an opera. That feeling became a reality when The Fly was chosen as the subject, the acclaimed David Henry Hwang came aboard as librettist and David Cronenberg said yes to recreating his film.”
On Shore’s part, there is this: “I always believed The Fly to be a classic opera story. It’s a tale of love and death, true love surviving in the face of physical decay and ultimate sacrifice. To bring this work to the opera stage has been a longtime dream. I am very proud to be working with these fantastic collaborators in the realization of this dream.”
And from Cronenberg himself: “To be involved in this opera of The Fly is, for me, to travel back not only in time, but to another dimension. It’s a magical re-living of a part of my life, this time playing a completely different role in the creation of a very different animal. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

Neither can we.
I can still recall seeing The Fly for the very first time over two decades ago, and being absolutely blown away by it. Being the Cronenberg diehard that I am, I’ve naturally seen it quite a number of times since then.
Never once did I imagine it would become an opera…
It’s such a magnificently surprising world, isn’t it?

For more details on The Fly, you can visit the opera’s official website.

Parting shot: Reviews of a number of Cronenberg films can be found in the Archive.

(Images courtesy of howardshore.com and theflytheopera.com.)

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