An operatic adaptation of David Cronenberg’s 1986 horror film THE FLY (a remake of the 1958 film starring Vincent Price and Al Hedison) will makes its debut on Wednesday at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. A U.S. premier is scheduled for Septembr 7 at the Los Angeles Opera. Cronenberg himself is directing the Paris stage production. Placido Domingo is conducting the orchestra. David Henry Hwang (whose M. Butterfly was turned into a film by Cronenberg) supplied the libretto. The opera was composed by Howard Shore, who scored the film version, from which he sampled a couple of themes:
“I love the characters,” Shore said. “I wanted to write for a drama that I was familiar with, and that I had a certain inside view of.”
Overall, the opera has a very different feel. The setting has been changed to 1950s America, which somehow seems more operatic than the 1980s.
As Brundle, bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch has the unenviable task of performing arias in his birthday suit as he climbs in and out of the teleport machine. (Mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose is Quaife.)
The retro set design is evocative of 1950s horror flicks. And there’s something thrilling about the old-school special effects — terrifically gruesome costumes, a singing teleport machine and a giant fly scaling an opera set.
“It is in some ways a translation of the movie to the stage,” Cronenberg said. “But it’s its own creature.”