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Opera - The Fly opens in LA


OneFinger
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Just read where The Fly, a modern opera from Paris, had it's U.S. premiere on Sunday in LA.

 

According to the article, "Okulitch gives a bravura performance as Brundle. He sang shirtless, standing fully naked and even while climbing upside down, maintaining a burnished baritone. (A body double, Cy Platt, performs the gymnastics that included handstands and back flips at the start of the second act.)"

 

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=154&sid=3664173

 

http://media.bonnint.net/apimage/c2ad84d8-506b-4b86-983f-fde7a2f0e3ae.jpg

 

Wondering if anyone has seen this opera. Sounds like it could be interesting. }(

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I guess this aint’t your granddaddy’s opera!

 

Still, composers have tried to be somewhat risqué over the years. As early as 1811 Rossini’s early opera L’Equivoco Stravagante was closed down by the authorities after three performances due to its overuse of suggestive situations and double entendres. For revenge Rossini later adapted some of the music to religious texts! Of course the most famous example was Strauss’ Salome from about a hundred years later which was banned in a number of countries before it was eventually premiered.

 

So we have come a long way baby… YUM!

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I saw a production of Busoni's "Doktor Faust" in Frankfurt almost thirty years ago, in which a beautiful young blond man appeared completely nude in a spotlight at the end (leave it to those avant garde German directors!). My rather prudish elderly mother happened to be with me, but luckily she was fairly blind by then, and she asked me to explain that last scene to her--I told her that I really didn't understand it, which was true.

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The Los Angeles Times opera critic, Mark Swed, was scathing in his criticism in today's (09/09/08) paper. Swed writes, “Shore scored the second ‘Fly’ effectively, even operatically. So I am at a loss to understand why ‘The Fly’ has turned out so dreary, despite the inclusion of sex, nudity, puppetry and athleticism”. I think I will pass on this one!

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No amount of gimmickry is a substitute for shear genius… and the composers I mentioned above… Rossini and Richard Strauss... are certainly polar opposites in the operatic firmament. One emphasizes the glories of the human voice and Italianate melody as supported by a lean crystal clear orchestration. The other emphasizes vocal power and a rich lush orchestral fabric with the orchestra often overpowering and being more important than the voice in the scheme of things. Furthermore, at various points in time both were and continue to be highly criticized. Yet they were both masters of their craft who knew exactly what they were attempting to achieve and given their objectives did it extremely well.

 

As has been the trend lately, this latest operatic effort seems like a bit of puffery in comparison. Also, I am not quite sure how the piece would be categorized form a stylistic point of view… Based on most of what has been offered as opera in the past several years I can understand how this one could be characterized as being banal. Still it would be interesting to get some other opinions and feedback regarding the piece.

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