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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Fly: The Opera

posted by on September 9 at 15:15 PM

The Fly began its life cycle in 1957, as a short story in Playboy.

It pupated into the 1958 film starring Vincent Price, then matured into David Cronenberg’s 1986 freak-out that probably did extremely weird things to Jeff Goldblum’s sex life:



Now, apparently, it’s decaying as an opera in LA, composed by soundtrack guy Howard Shore (who wrote the music to the 1986 film as well as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Naked Lunch, with Ornette Coleman), directed by Cronenberg, and conducted by Plácido Domingo.

The critics are stomping it—but in a way that makes me want to see it:

Hwang emphasizes the superman element — turning Brundle into a messianic figure who proclaims his fusion as the beginning of “the new flesh” — and even gives him an aria about insect politics. Veronica, a science reporter who falls for Brundle and is impregnated by Brundlefly, sings an abortion aria. But the music, alas, never quite rises to these odd occasions.

Yeah, sure, the music doesn’t do it—but an abortion aria? I’d just like to hear what that sounds like.

Next up at the LA Opera: Puccini, directed by Woody Allen. No joke:

Allen: “I said I would years ago, because these things are planned years in advance. I figured, ‘Eh, I’ll be dead before it happens. I’m 72. I’m never going to make it to the opera.’ But it came around, and next Monday, I start rehearsal.”

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Shore's best score (it should be noted) was/is The Game. The Fly had a good score, but as far as listening outside the film, Ronnie's Visit and The Street are the only good tracks. All of LOTR was mediocre, and when it isn't it doesn't take long for the smooth score to turn into something so obnoxious you wish you were either dead, or worse, watching one of the movies.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 9, 2008 3:26 PM

i'm reserving judgement until i hear the music. howard shore's bombast for lord of the rings is what that elephant needed, but on closer listening there are bits of melody that stand up well on their own ( that enya/annie lenox elf music crap excepted)..his other work for cronenberg, specifically his collaboration with ornette coleman for naked lunch, is strong and indicative of what he can do when he's at full creative power.

Posted by reverend dr dj riz | September 9, 2008 3:33 PM

Oh God, how could I forget? Shore's score to the '96 Crash is by far one of the worst movie scores of all time. Absolutely atrocious. I liked the movie, though.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 9, 2008 3:33 PM

you know, the 80's sucked. let's stop going through the dustbin of history, unless it is to celebrate the ouevre of The Volcano Suns. who fucking rocked.

Posted by max solomon | September 9, 2008 3:36 PM


The best track to come out of all three of the LOTR movies was Enya's The Council of Elrond. And, big surprise, it was barely in the movie. If I recall (only saw it once), it was butchered between mindless tears and sobs in that half-ass "relationship" you're supposed to care about with Liv and Viggo.

(In my opinion.)

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 9, 2008 3:37 PM

What kind of aria does one sing whilst regurgitating fly digestive juices onto one's victim's leg?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | September 9, 2008 3:48 PM


The 80's didn't suck. Just because you spent all of your money on cocaine, tacky clothes and Aqua Net for your wife doesn't mean the movies weren't perizzle tizight. The Fly, Die Hard, Excalibur, Children of a Lesser God, E.T., 'night, Mother, The Accused, Barfly, Dead Ringers, anything by John Hughes sans Pretty in Pink, Hellraiser, One from the Heart, Raiders of the Motherfucking Lost Ark...don't be crazy. The 80's were awesome.

Plus, I was born in '86. That makes the 80s the best decade of ever.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 9, 2008 3:50 PM

Erm...I think I mean gurgitating.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | September 9, 2008 3:50 PM

An abortion aria sounds the same as any other boring opera song, except the words are about abortion. I'm just guessing.

Agree w/Mr. Poe @5, too. But is Shore's "Crash" score (I haven't seen it) worse than his score for Kevin Smith's "Dogma"? That was some of the worst music I've ever heard....bad in a way that actually kind of worked for that movie, though.

Posted by David | September 9, 2008 3:52 PM

The only thing this thread is doing for me is to force me to make up rhyming lists for abortion. Abortion, apportion, contortion, absorption, etc.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | September 9, 2008 3:58 PM

I never bothered to listen to Dogma's score, but I did download Alanis' Still. I love her.

I'm sure it's equally atrocious if you're asking, but it can't possibly be worse. Think of the worst dingy-clanky tracks on Pay it Forward and multiply the wackness by 5,000. Ugh.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 9, 2008 3:59 PM

Napoleon XIV,
I usually go for Donizetti's "Il dolce suono...Spargi d'amaro pianto," myself.

Posted by David | September 9, 2008 4:05 PM

I'd not envisioned the Fly as a soprano, David.

Then again, I'd not envisioned The Fly as an opera to begin with.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | September 9, 2008 4:26 PM

In college I was in a musical about Frida Kahlo in which I sang an aria about miscarriage. Not that much harder to imagine an aria about abortion.

Posted by genevieve | September 9, 2008 6:25 PM

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