Thursday, September 18, 2008

Once There Was An Opera Virgin

I know very little about opera and have never experienced one. Its elitist and snobbish air, specially that most libretti are in a foreign language, has kept me distant.

I feared if my first time is not pleasurable, it will leave a bad impression and I might shun opera forever.

But deep inside I know there is potential for opera appreciation as I enjoy listening to classical music and film scores, and watching stage dramas and musicals.

And then "The Fly The Opera" buzzed about the Los Angeles arts scene.

Constantly wanting but always stalling to have my first taste of opera, I felt “The Fly” is an appropriate start. It is culturally accessible to me since the libretto is in English, and I'm a huge fan of the gorgeously grotesque 1986 movie.

I couldn’t wait to see how the classic lines from the movie will be delivered: “Something went wrong.” “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” and “Help me! Please! Help me!”

I have seen snippets of operas through movies like “Godfather III” and “Pretty Woman” so I basically have an idea how an opera operates: The narrative is told through music and songs.

But unlike musicals, the songs are sung in a highly melodious (operatic) and at times sort of recitative way, instead of like a mainstream piece with varying tunes that most of us are accustomed to.

A triad of performers usually constitute the principal characters of an opera. They are the vessels of emotions with conflicting motivations that use acting and singing simultaneously to carry the opera from the first act to the grand finale.

Ultimately, it is the story that drives an opera. Plot lines with high drama, specially those with tragedy, work well as these provide strong emotional conduits for artistic expression.

“The Fly” has a compelling story about love and loss, dream and downfall, growth and decay. It has the workings of a great opera. How these conflicting themes come into play make the story truly palpable and genuinely terrifying.

"The Fly The Opera" is the fresh stimulus to my rebirth as a creature of culture. If the telepods transformed Seth Brundle into something beyond his imagination, this piece of theater art is starting to metamorphose me into something beyond mine - an opera fan.

My enthusiasm for opera is at its pupal stage. It will still go through a tedious process to metamorphose into the larval stage, before it reaches maturity and transforms me into a full-blown opera aficionado, if at all it will.

But suffice it to say that "The Fly The Opera" devirginized me to this wonderful form of performance art. It couldn't have been more apt what with full frontal nudity by main male actor Daniel Okulitch whose very able body and proud phallus are beautiful to hold - - I mean, behold!

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