David Cronenberg readies ‘Fly’ opera

Director adapts horror film for Parisian stage

After four decades of exploring society’s underbelly and unnerving auds, what scares director David Cronenberg?

Helming his first opera, a stage incarnation of his grisly 1986 film “The Fly.”

“You want to talk about scaring yourself, that’s how I do it,” Cronenberg quips.

The opera was composed by frequent collaborator Howard Shore with a libretto by David Henry Hwang, who adapted his stage play “M. Butterfly” for Cronenberg’s 1993 film. Dante Ferretti, who designed the upcoming “Sweeney Todd” film, will create the set, while Placido Domingo will conduct.

The opera will bow July 2 at Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet before buzzing Stateside to open the Los Angeles Opera’s 2008/09 season.

Cronenberg notes that a lot of film directors have tried their hands at opera, but he wanted to tackle something fresh in that realm. “For that art form to survive, it has to revitalize itself, and, you know, how many times can you do ‘La Boheme?’ ”

Still, the “Eastern Promises” helmer expresses relief that the medium is centered on the composer.

“If I screw it up,” he says, “the music will still be good.”

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