The legendary comedian/filmmaker/writer/jazz clarinetist will direct Gianni Schicchi, the comic third part of Puccini's Trittico, in a new production of the complete trilogy to open L.A. Opera's 2008-09 season. This will be his maiden voyage in opera.
"I have no idea what I am doing," said Allen in a statement released by the company June 21, "but incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
Staging the first two works in Puccini's "theatrical triptych," Il tabarro and Suor Angelica, will be William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of (among other films) The Exorcist, The French Connection and To Live and Die in L.A. Friedkin's most recent film, released this spring, is an adaptation of Bug, the hit Off-Broadway play by Tracy Letts, starring Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon and Harry Connick, Jr.
Friedkin has directed at L.A. Opera twice in the past: his company debut was in 2002, directing (as it happens) Schicchi on a double bill with Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle; in 2004 he staged Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos.
Trittico — in its house premiere — opens Los Angeles Opera's 2007-08 season on Sept. 6. The following evening the company presents another big movie-related event: the U.S. premiere of The Fly, an operatic version of David Cronenberg's 1986 film with a score by cinema composer Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings, Mrs. Doubtfire, Gangs of New York) and a libretto by David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly). L.A. Opera general director Plácido Domingo will conduct and Cronenberg himself will direct the production; casting has not yet been announced.