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The Fly: The Opera

No, I’m not kidding. I had no idea this was going on until I saw this article in Variety talking about how movies are being translated to Broadway and now they’re being translated to the opera stage. And of course, what better way to blow my mind than to tell me that Howard Shore has turned David Cronenberg’s The Fly into an opera. And then asked Cronenberg to direct it. With a libretto by David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly). And was conducted at its premiere last month by Plácido Domingo.

I’ll give you a moment to staple your brain back together.

Stuck in my head was this concept of a tenor singing “HELP MEEEEEEE” in falsetto Italian. So I had to start finding out more. Here’s Howard Shore, composer, talking about how he came up with the notion of making this an opera. Quality’s terrible, but it’s the best I could find embeddable. You get to see the chambers, plus somebody rehearsing in a harness running around I would guess in what’s Fly-Mode. More videos and stuff after the break.

Direct link for the feedreaders.


Here’s where Cronenberg talks about taking his 1986 film to the stage. And, you know, with singing. At the very end you can get a taste of the onstage Flyness.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

And if you check out the official website, you can see more goodness, like this Brundelfly puppet:

Brundel puppet from The Fly Opera

They also have higher quality versions of the videos above.

The Fly: The Opera will be at the LA Opera starting September 7th. You can get tickets here. I would love to hear a review from somebody.

The article also mentions an Il Postino opera with the aforementioned Domingo as Pablo Neruda and Rolando Villazón as the titular character. That will hit the LA Opera next year. Brokeback Mountain: The Opera will hit the New York City Opera in 2013.

And there was a Dead Man Walking opera in 2000. Here, get a glimpse.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

So since this seems to be a trend, I’ll throw this idea out there: Night of the Living Dead: The Opera. No, seriously, think about it. Takes place for the most part in one location. Has a small cast. Has a lot of pathos. You’ve got shambling zombies–built-in chorus. And you’ve got a lot of commentary on the human condition. I hereby offer to write the English libretto for that for dirt cheap. You know where to find me.

Update: Rox of Spaz-House, artist in residence and on-call opera geek, points out that OperaNow! covered The Fly: The Opera last month in their podcast.


  • Widge, can you write your libretto in Italian?

    I always believe that most English language operas don’t do well because they always seem to be atonal. The First Last/Emporer with Damingo was almost unlistenable, except for the opening. Drums are always cool.

    Below is a link to my favorite opera geeks. I think they are the only opera geeks actually. – Cheers.

    If anyone will have a review they will. If it does well, I wonder if Sarasota Opera (they are our hidden gem in the opera world) would pick it up?

  • Rox: I can’t just because I don’t know Italian. But I’d be very happy to work with someone who could translate my English into Italian.

  • I hope Seth sings, “You’re a Fucking Drag” before launching into the promordial ooze aria.

  • We (Squonk Opera) did “Night of the Living Dead: the Opera” back around 1995 at City Theatre in Pittsburgh. Romero and the stars of the movie all came to see it. Great fun.