Abuzz over 'The Fly'

French, L.A. Opera adapting 1987 horror film

Canadian director David Cronenberg has caught the opera bug. Literally.

Rehearsals are under way for the operatic adaptation of Cronenberg's 1987 horror film "The Fly" for Paris' Chatelet Theater and the Los Angeles Opera. Run-throughs are being held at the theater, which will set the stage for the five performances running Wednesday through July 13.

The melodious version of the film about a scientist transformed into a giant man/fly hybrid will be conducted by tenor Placido Domingo with music composed by Howard Shore, who also wrote the score for the movie. The script is by David Henry Hwang, based on the eponymous novel by Frenchman George Langelaan.

"We're really branching out internationally. It's a story from France that went to Hollywood and is now coming back home," Chatelet Theater director Jean-Luc Choplin said.

Italian designer Dante Ferretti will be handling scenery, and Cronenberg's sister, Denise, is designing the costumes for the Franco-American co-production.

"I think the production will please both true opera fans and also reach out to younger audiences," Choplin said. "We're really crossing borders between the cinema and the opera. It's more than just a simple costume change."

A melange of voices from across the globe will be complemented by the Radio France Philharmonic orchestra. "Fly" will feature contemporary music made specifically for the opera.

"It's a new artistic adventure. We need to modernize. We have to push the opera toward new frontiers," Choplin said, adding that he sees more of these projects combining film with music, opera and theater on the horizon.

The opera will head across the Atlantic in September for performances in Los Angeles. (partialdiff)