Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Fly at the LA Opera

My Saturday afternoon was a mixture of science fiction, philosophy, and...opera. I was familiar with the story of The Fly from years ago, but I never thought of it as a story to fit the opera. Yet, as I watched The Fly on Saturday afternoon, the pieces fell into the role well, dredging up the darker side of humanity like only an opera can. Contrary to the title, The Fly is about humanity from start to finish - what it means to be human, the desire to be more, and finding sometimes too late that what we should most appreciate we already have.

The Fly made its world premiere in Paris in July before making its LA premiere earlier this month with the Los Angeles Opera. The score was written by Howard Shore, who composed the score for the 1986 film that inspired the opera (though the musical scores are completely different). (Sidenote: The entire "Fly" franchise is all based on a 1957 short story by George Langelann. He passed on in 1969 and was probably able to see the 1950s films inspired by the story, but I wonder if he ever thought his story would become an opera?)

I can't do a comparitive between the 1986 film and the opera because it's been awhile since I've seen the film, but I don't think it'd be quite fair to do so. Both are different mediums that hold different expectations. The thing that holds the two together is a story that can probably adhere to any medium because it calls out to human desire and innovation - the ability of a man with even extraordinary intelligence to still act stupidly human with the extraordinary.

While the music and the singers carried this story well, what stands out most in my memory, is the set design and the visual effects. Set in the 1950s, the technology of Seth Brundle the Scientist was still something to amaze oneself at and was done quite creatively with the elements of the story. The computers at times acted as chorus or provided expository dialogue for the passing of time. The opera integrated puppetry to convey visual effects - which worked particularly well when having to depict the failed experiments of Brundle.

The Fly has the ability to transport your imagination and immerse yourself in a story with a lesson you appreciate being reminded of (and a number of humorous lines here and there to break up the darker elements of the story). And as a bonus prize for the geekiest of the bunch, there's a song in there just for us - I mean, you!

Unfortunately, The Fly ended its LA Opera run on Saturday, but the season's practically just begun and there's plenty more to see. Check out the 2008-2009 LA Opera Season on ExperienceLA.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Federico Aubele and Pacha Massive at the Ford

Pacha Massive at the FordWhile the calendars say it's officially Fall, the Summer Season at the Ford Amphitheater isn't over yet. And I found myself quite grateful for this "extended summer" when I made my way over to the Ford Amphitheater to see KCRW Presents: Federico Aubele and Pacha Massive on Friday night.

I'm always learning that there's a universal quality to music, and it's a lesson I always appreciate when it comes around - mostly because it comes with it a great musical experience. Friday night at the Ford reminded me how much I love not only Latin music (despite not always knowing what the artists are singing about), but how music can be a mixture of so many different cultural sounds and genres.

The night opened with Argentinean singer Natalia Clavier, who recently released her solo album and is touring with Federico Aubele. Clavier's music has an alternative, Latin trip-hop quality and was great opening for the night. The smooth nature of her voice and the ease of listening to her songs made a great transition to Federico Aubele, particularly since Natalia Clavier was a featured singer in his set.

Federico Aubele
joined Clavier and the band on stage, adding his guitar to the drums, keyboards, and bass. Aubele's latest album is entitled Panamericana, and listening to his set and the mixture of sounds in his work, it's a very apropos title that reflects his ability to mix so many different musical sounds. But perhaps the most stand-out aspect of Aubele's set was his amazing guitar skills, particularly when the band left for a moment so that he could entertain the audience with a small set with him and his guitar.

If the sounds of Federico Aubele has the ease of your relaxing Sunday morning cup of coffee, Pacha Massive has the ease of your Friday night neighborhood block party. Their mixture of funky Latin sounds brought the audience to their feet, dancing along the aisle and by the stage. It was hard not to leave without having one of Pacha Massive songs in your head, not with their catchy hook "No oh oh oh...don't let go and stay with me" from their song "Don't Let Go" to close their show or the title line of their single in rotation "All Good Things".

In the still warm summer-style nights of LA, I couldn't imagine a better way to spend my Friday evening than a night concert with Federico Aubele and Pacha Massive at the helm.

The Ford Amphitheater season isn't over yet. Check out the last few events to extend your summer on ExperienceLA.com.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

FYI: ExperienceLA.com on YouTube: Go Metro!

Go Metro with ExperienceLA.com. The ExperienceLA.com YouTube Channel now features Metro videos. See our playlist of Metro Videos after the jump.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

FYI: ExperienceLA.com on The Sound LA (100.3 FM)

ExperienceLA.com was recently featured on 100.3 The Sound LA. Listen to the interview to learn more about ExperienceLA.com and its recent projects. You might hear something you didn't know before!

-ExperienceLA.com Staff