David Cronenberg, director of the movie version of The Fly, will make his opera debut directing. Howard Shore, who composed the film's soundtrack, is composing a score to a libretto by David Henry Hwang. Costumes are by Denise Cronenberg (David's sister, who worked on the film with him); set designs are by Dante Ferretti; Domingo conducts.
The opera will receive its world premiere on July 1, 2008, at the Chê¢telet; Los Angeles Opera will open its 2008-09 season with the U.S. premiere on September 7.
The Fly is an exploration of a physical and psychological transformation in which a brilliant scientist begins to mutate into a hybrid of man and fly after one of his experiments goes horribly wrong. (That should keep the costume designer busy.)
"Any commission of an opera is a gamble," says Domingo, "as has been proven throughout music history. There are many operas which were commissioned and premiered but didn't survive the test of time. Thus there is no scientific formula for commissioning but only one's instinct when one listens to a composer's already existing works."
The already-existing works of Howard Shore include the scores to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Departed, Gangs of New York, and Mrs. Doubtfire. In addition to The Fly, Shore has scored 10 of Cronenberg's films, including Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Crash and A History of Violence.
The librettos of David Henry Hwang, a Los Angeles native and the Tony-winning playwright of M. Butterfly, include Philip Glass's The Voyage (Metropolitan Opera), Bright Sheng's The Silver River (Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Lincoln Center Festival) and Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar (Tanglewood, Santa Fe Opera, Lincoln Center).
Italian-born set designer Dante Ferretti's credits include the films The Aviator, Gangs of New York, Interview with the Vampire and The Age of Innocence. He has also designed productions for opera houses including Milan's La Scala, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Paris Opera (Bastille), and the opera houses of Turin, Rome and Florence.
Denise Cronenberg collaborates frequently with her brother David, designing costumes for his films including The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch and Crash.