Yes, David Cronenberg’s 1986 horror flick, The Fly, has hit the operatic stage in Los Angeles. Cronenberg is also directing the new opera as well, with Plácido Domingo directing the production. The opera first hit the stage in Paris over the summer and received mixed reviews. What I can only be described as grotesque visuals (the official website includes images), Dante Ferretti, best known for collaborating with Martin Scorcese, brought the staged work to life.
Where the opera likely failed is having film composer, Howard Shore, author the score. It is hard to imagine a film score composer writing a successful operatic score. Maybe for a musical, but composing opera requires more sophistication that film composers don’t usually experiment with. Not to say that classical composers, such as Tan Dun or Philip Glass, haven’t dabbled with composing film scores. It is simply a different kind of composing, and not necessarily Shore’s fault. The style of writing requires more experimentation, which traditional classical composers are more comfortable with.
I am all for reinventing the wheel, and modernizing an aged musical genre like opera. But, I really do not think this will be a success – now or in the future. Thus far many critics aren’t fond of the new work either. The Fly fails to fly. I have to wonder what Domingo was thinking bring this particular film to the operatic stage.
With so many great films to choose from, this was an awful decision. If Domingo had the urge to stage science fiction, surely something more interesting and more inviting should have been selected. Perhaps a film from David Mamet? Or, Stanley Kubrick? Or, a whole host of other prominent screen writers.