Opera ‘Fly’ to preem in U.S. in ’08

Shore, Cronenberg will make operatic debuts

“The Fly,” the first opera from film composer Howard Shore, will receive its world premiere on July 1, 2008, in Paris followed by a U.S. premiere in Los Angeles on Sept. 7, 2008.

David Cronenberg will direct in his operatic debut; work is based on the helmer’s film of the same name, along with the original 1957 George Langelaan short story. Playwright David Henry Hwang penned the libretto.

Opera reunites three of the principals involved in the 1986 movie — Cronenberg, Shore and costume designer Denise Cronenberg, David’s sister.

“It’s a magical reliving of a part of my life, this time playing a completely different role in the creation of a very different animal,” Cronenberg said.

Placido Domingo, who holds the title of Broad general director of Los Angeles Opera, and Jean-Luc Choplin, general manager of Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet, will make the announcement today in Paris.

Scheduling issues prevented “The Fly” from inclusion in L.A. Opera’s 2007-08 season, for which it had been slated. It was commissioned in 2004.

“It has long been my dream to unite the worlds of film with those of opera, especially in Los Angeles,” Domingo said in a statement prior to the news conference.

“The Fly” will be an “unprecedented addition to the operatic repertoire. Any commission of an opera is a gamble, as has been proven throughout music history,” Domingo added. “There is no scientific formula for commissioning, only one’s instinct when one listens to a composer’s already existing works.”

L.A. Opera has worked with a slew of film directors, among them William Friedkin, Julie Taymor, Maximilian Schell, Bruce Beresford, Herbert Ross, John Schlesinger, Marthe Keller, Garry Marshall and Franco Zeffirelli. Company has been involved in commissions that bring together film directors and composers, including Elliot Goldenthal and Taymor on “Grendel” and Zhang Yimou and Tan Dun on “The First Emperor,” which is slated for 2010.

At an L.A. Opera press conference last month, Domingo mentioned that composer Daniel Catan had begun work on an opera version of “Il Postino.”

As for “The Fly,” the work “exemplifies the artistic policy of Theatre du Chatelet, a policy intent on discovering new art forms and reaching out to new arts enthusiasts, and yet resolutely part of the current world,” Choplin said. “It is also a grand story of collaboration between Paris and Los Angeles, two leading cities for cinema.”

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