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Friday, February 8, 2008

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid

The Los Angeles Opera has announced a new opera based on the David Cronenberg version of The Fly. Yes, that's the gooey/gorey version where Jeff Goldblum turned into a giant fly monster after an accident with his teleportation machine. The opera, scheduled to premiere on Sept. 7, features music by Howard Shore and libretto by M. Butterfly scribe David Henry Hwang. David Cronenberg will direct.

In light of this announcement, here's a list of other possible horror-movie-to-opera adaptations that may be coming in the future.

Saw: Has the advantage of a dramatic situation and a minimal set: two men trapped in a basement bathroom. To save budget, producers could recycle the Act II set from the Met's current production of Fidelio. Unlike Beethoven's prison opera, this one doesn't have a happy ending.

The Shining: A three-character drama with a ghostly chorus--this could be a 21st century version of The Mines of Sulfur or The Turn of the Screw. Floyd the Bartender could be a bass villain like Hagen or Scarpia. For stage effect, bring back Stephen King's original moving topiary animals--they were left out of the Stanley Kubrick movie. Sounds like a Julie Taymor production!

Jaws: We're gonna need a bigger stage. This Spielberg fish tale could join Billy Budd and Peter Grimes in the fine tradition of naval operas. It already has great leitmotivic music by John Williams. And the shark could be the biggest ocean-borne opera star since Richard Strauss put an Omniscient Mussel in the first act of Die Ägyptische Helene. Who wouldn't pay to see a singing shark?

Friday The 13th A better choice for a "slasher" opera than Halloween as Jason Voorhees' mother could be written as a low contralto, and the cast of about-to-be-slaughtered teenagers could revive the careers of Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorgiu. Get Rob Zombie to direct and we'll be in business.

And finally:

Aida II: The Mummy's Revenge Researchers exploring Egypt find an Ethiopian princess and an Egyptian general asphyxiated and mummified beneath the altar in the Temple of Ptha. Their mummies come to life and go on a Verdi-style rampage. Egypt always does well at the box office. Of course, the sequel could feature The Rock in his operatic debut as The Scorpion King.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.