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Music Monday - The Fly

Saturday night, amidst all of our loft construction busy-ness, pyr8queen took me to see "The Fly" - the opera. Yes, it's adapted from Cronenberg's 1986 version, and in fact, the opera was directed by Cronenberg himself. The music is adapted from Howard "Lord of the Rings" Shore original screenplay, and entirely composed by Shore himself. The producer was Placido Domingo, who also conducted - though the night we saw the performance, the conductor was Israel Gursky.

As an event, "The Fly" was spectacular - the set, a warehouse loft done in heroic proportions befitting a mad scientist - was moody and striking. The costumes were of a 50's period, but run though a filter that made them seem just a touch larger than life. And the creature effects for the fly itself, in combination with the stage trickery with the telepods and various things and critters that go into and out of them - were impressive.

My personal take on opera (and don't kill me Trish and Aoife!) is that the recitative is the price you pay for the arias. "The Fly" was no different, and indeed, maybe even more tedious since the musical themes that are stated in the recitative and restated in the choral works were originally conceived as a soundrack, meaning the melodies are meant to be moody and atomospheric, and occasionally evoke quiet dread or anticipation. Whereas opera is meant to evoke huge emotions, grand and overwhelming feelings of love, despair, rage, horror, the whole spectrum of human over-reaction. These two aims are at opposition to each other, and "The Fly" doens't resolve the inherent contradiction particularly well. There are some stand out moments; Ruxanne's description of her dream about being pregnant with fly larvae, Brundle's imploring her not to destroy him (hanging upside from the operahouse cieling), the music isn't without worth. And it's infused with a certain sly humor; callbacks to Cronenberg's other works, science jokes, a little bawdy humor. As opera, it's thoroughly modern without losing its realtionship to tradition.

Any night at the opera is pretty darned cool, though - and I really liked seeing this science-fiction classic dressed up in its best formalwear and totted out to society. And so, since it's Music Monday - here's a video clip with some footage from the production.

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