September 16, 2008

What are you looking at?

Yeah I am posting about opera after a Metallica review. What of it?

I have a friend visiting me from Los Angeles right now and she has been filling me on some pretty interesting modern operas taking place at the Los Angeles Opera as of late.

Film Director David Cronenberg (Scanners, The Fly, Crash) has teamed up with composer Howard Shore (Silence of the Lambs, Lord of the Rings) to bring to the stage a rather avante 2 act version of the movie The Fly - IE the screenplay from the 80's combined with the 50's film version which then also references the original 1957 short story by George Langelaan.

Most of the reviews thus far haven't been terribly kind. It opened in Paris to awful reviews....and the nasty reviews have shadowed it to our continent. "It isn't even good enough to be offensive." "I am at a loss to understand why "The Fly" has turned out so dreary, despite the inclusion of sex, nudity, puppetry and athleticism."

The opera fan sitting on the couch next to me enjoyed the production and besides all the ground breaking aspects of the production our theory is this might be just the kind of shift opera needed to take to keep new generations interested in the art form as the older, more traditional older opera goers are literally dying out.

From the opera's website :

"Plácido Domingo conducts the U.S. premiere of the LA Opera-commissioned opera written by Oscar®-winning composer Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings)based on the original 1957 George Langelaan short story as well as David Cronenberg’s 1986 film, with a libretto by the Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly). This marks not only the operatic debut of the film director, but also the LA Opera debut of the celebrated Academy Award-winning designer Dante Ferretti (The Aviator, Sweeney Todd).

ime magazine described The Fly as "a profound parable on love and loss." In its metamorphosis into an opera, this dark romantic tragedy presents a Kafkaesque meditation on man's uneasy relationship with technology. As the doomed scientist Seth Brundle and his girlfriend Veronica Quaife, Daniel Okulitch and Ruxandra Donose will be making their LA Opera debuts. Gary Lehman plays the part of Veronica's editor and former lover, Stathis Borans. "
This just the begining of more unusual film to stage collaberations and here is a list of some others that have happened already or are coming to a stage in the not so near future.

Sophie's Choice William Styron's novel was adapted for film in 1982, starring Meryl Streep. In 2002 it was made into an opera by Nicholas Maw but it received poor reviews.

Lost Highway David Lynch's 1997 film noir was adapted as an opera by Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth in 2003. The plot focuses on a jazz musician accused of murdering his wife who transforms into another man, escapes, and seduces his wife again. The opera toured Europe and the US.

Dancer in the Dark Lars von Trier's 2000 film, which starred Björk, is being adapted into an opera by the Royal Danish Theatre. It is expected to premiere in 2010-2011.

Brokeback Mountain Charles Wuorinen is adapting Brokeback Mountain for New York City Opera, expected to debut in 2013. The 2005 film, directed by Ang Lee, starred Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as cowboys who fall in love.

And also from the LA Opera site:
Award-winning film directors William Friedkin (The Exorcist) and Woody Allen join forces to create a new cinematic production of Puccini's trio of one-act operas. (running now)

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