Released: Nov 01st, 2003
Running Time: 135
Director: Thomas Zupko
Company: Elegant Angel Productions
Cast: Valentino (I), Katja, Tony Tedeschi, Papillon, Ashley Blue, Vivica Vengeance, Brian Surewood, Trent Tesoro, Avy Scott, Dennis Marti, Allura Bond, Satine Diamond, Mickey G.
Critical Rating: AAAA
Adventuresome, highbrow couples looking for something really different.
The first-ever porn opera is one of the most distinctive, ambitious adult features of this or any other year. With its operatic score, English sub-titles and angst-ridden script, it's also one of the least accessible.
Director Thomas Zupko clearly is trying to make art here, but in so doing, seems to have forgotten the fact that porn is a populist form of entertainment designed first and foremost to be a masturbatory aid. Much of Opera comes off like a talk-heavy foreign film better suited for the art-house circuit than the friendly neighborhood stroke shop.
Feature or not, the most important element of any adult production is the sex, and unfortunately, the sex in Opera is nothing to write home about.
Opera tells the tragic tale of opera prodigy Puccini (played by real-life opera singer Allen Rene, whose very considerable pipes are on full display throughout) who, undone by a treacherous brother and a cheating wife, has become a homeless junkie.
The recently unretired Papillon plays the wayward spouse and provides Opera with its best sex scene, as - lusciously garbed in revealing, fetishy red satin - she takes first Mickey G., then Brian Surewood up her bum in the closer. An Ashley Blue/Trent Tesoro tryst is decent too, as is a Satine Diamond/Valentino coupling, but the rest of the sex scenes, yet more one-on-one hetero pairings that take place on an opera stage set, have sameness about them and really could have used some body-count variety.
While it might not play with the Joe Six Packs that are the staples of the porn consuming public, Opera is an impressive achievement into which Zupko obviously poured much blood, sweat and tears and, as such, deserves nominations consideration. Pre-nom it for Best Video Feature, Best Director - Video, Best Screenplay - Video, Best Non-Sex Performance (Rene), Best Art Direction, Best Boxcover Concept and of course, Best Musical Score.