Ed Driscoll

An Inconvenient Connection, Or: To Live And Die In Milan

Around 1969 and ’70, when The Who’s Tommy was a pop culture phenomenon, Pete Townshend and his manager, Kit Lambert were culturally aware enough to know that when they booked their self-described rock “opera” into real opera houses, they were veering dangerously close to camp. It was only The Who’s sledgehammer live stage show (and Townshend’s often great songwriting) that saved them–at least until Ken Russell arrived on the scene to direct the movie version a few years later.

Flash-forward to nearly 40 years on, and we find two prominent cinematic auteurs also seeking to enter the rarefied world of opera. But are they self-aware enough to know that the joke will be on them if their choice of venues actually comes to pass?