‘The Fly’ lands at L.A. Opera, but the buzz is bad

Sept. 08, 2008 | 11:51 p.m.

Fly3We gave you the first look at the Los Angeles Opera production of "The Fly," directed by David Cronenberg, and now here’s the top of the review by Mark Swed, the music critic for the Los Angeles Times:

Two years ago, a bass-baritone covered in gook stalked the stage of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. That was the medieval monster in Elliot Goldenthal’s "Grendel," commissioned by Los Angeles Opera. Sunday afternoon, a baritone covered in gook again stalked the Chandler stage. This time it was Brundle, the scientist hero transmogrified into a Musca domestica in Howard Shore‘s "The Fly," inspired by the 1986 David Cronenberg horror film — the latest opera commissioned by the company.

Just about any subject is ripe for opera. The film world and lyric stage have been influencing and stealing from each other since the days of silents. Brundlefly is no less reasonable a character for musical amplification than Rigoletto.

Yet in L.A. Opera’s ongoing monster mash (the commission before "Grendel" was Deborah Drattell’s "Nicholas and Alexandra," which featured Rasputin), music has ranked in importance somewhere below makeup.

I’m sorry to have to agree with the French critics who saw "The Fly" first and began the string of bad buzz jokes. The premiere was two months ago in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet, which co-commissioned the work. The reaction was unkind.

Ouch. Oh well. But here’s some good news: The original film version of "The Fly," from 1958, will be screened at 7:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre on Tuesday (Sept. 9) in Los Angeles with two of the original stars on hand. It’s a classic, both tragic and unnerving, so if you haven’t seen it you really should try to catch it on the big screen. Details on that screening are after the jump.

1958's 'The Fly'   

– Geoff Boucher

Here’s the details on that screening of "The Fly":

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE and LA OPERA presents

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of THE FLY with a rare one-night-only BIG SCREEN double feature of the classic 50′s monster movies that started it all. THE FLY (1958) made a genre star of Vincent Price and its infamous "Help Me!" ending became a water cooler sensation. The film’s huge success spawned an immediate sequel, RETURN OF THE FLY (1959).

LIVE AND IN-PERSON – the two original Fly actors DAVID HEDISON and BRETT HALSEY for a Q&A and autograph signing. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 7:30pm at the historic EGYPTIAN THEATER 6712 Hollywood Boulevard between Las Palmas and McCadden

Advanced tickets available at Fandango.com

Photo of "The Fly" at the Los Angeles Opera by Robert Millard/Associated Press. The actor is Daniel Okulitch, who portrays Seth Brundle.

Vintage photo of "The Fly" (1958) from the Los Angeles Times archives. From left, actors Herbert Marshall, Charles Herbert and Vincent Price.

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Comments


One Response to ‘The Fly’ lands at L.A. Opera, but the buzz is bad

  1. Iago says:

    I would think that the original version of "The Fly" would do better as a vehicle for the stage than the Cronenberg version (which I totally loved). When I think about it, that little fly-guy with the human face crying out in a little tinny voice, "Help me! Help me!", I still get kinda freaked out. His scientist buddy could only look on helplessly at his little fly-guy human-faced buddy. Brilliant stuff, that.

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