How the rock opera Starmania is getting a makeover

How the rock opera Starmania is getting a makeover

A five-star cast: Thomas Jolly, master of ceremonies for the 2024 Paris Olympics revealed by his Shakespearean trilogy Henri VI at the Avignon Festival, directing; Victor Le Masne, the harmonic Swiss army knife (Kavinsky, Juliette Armanet, and the re-orchestration of La Marseillaise for the 2024 Olympic Games…), musical direction; Nicolas Ghesquière, the creator of the women’s collections of the Vuitton house, in the costumes; Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, the Flemish who made Beyoncé and Jay Z dance in their Apeshit clip shot at the Louvre, to the choreography; Jean-Baptiste Mondino for the photos and the graphic design duo M/M. (Björk…) for the poster.

Don’t throw any more! The French touch is back and it’s called Starmania, the rock opera by French musician Michel Berger and Quebec lyricist Luc Plamondon celebrated across the Atlantic through its English version Tycoon and its hit The World Is Stone performed by Cindy Lauper.

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Until then, the place was given in priority to the songs whereas it is above all an opera with a story and dialogues

A question arises: why, after two breathless rereadings of the Chérie FM compilation (at the Théâtre Marigny in 1989 with Maurane and Renaud Hantson, then in Mogador in 1993), insist with this work created in 1979 on the stage of the Palais des Congrès? in the wake of the prowess of gotha ​​pop (Tommy of the Who)? “What was a dystopia in 1979 is more like a reality than ever, explains director Thomas Jolly. Until then, the place was given in priority to the songs while it is above all an opera with a story and dialogues with predictive tunes: the attack on the tallest tower in the world echoes the events of the 11-September 2001, we talk about the reign of continuous news channels, the explosion of stars on social networks, the conquest of Mars… All the characters are already there, even Elon Musk with Zero January. »

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“Real work of archaeologist”

Starmania is first and foremost the title of the reality TV show that gives the show its name. “We follow eight characters whose destinies intersect and seven of whom will die. Some have nothing to lose because there is nothing left to save. Others have everything to lose and are ready to throw it all away”summarizes Raphäel Humberger, the son of Michel Berger and France Gall, now the only beneficiary of the work with Luc Plamondon.

To revamp this black diamond haunted by the climate emergency and its fascist corollary, the guardian of the temple proposed to return to the initial version, largely expurgated over the covers (29 songs in the 1989 version against the double ten years earlier ).

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To tackle this Greek tragedy peppered with hits (and not the other way around), Victor Le Masne immersed himself in the archives. “I carried out real archaeological worksays the musician. We recovered the vintage multitrack tapes that I isolated one by one. We can more clearly distinguish the choirs of Daniel Balavoine, as well as the harmonic systems of Michel Berger. Nourished by rhythm and blues, they are demanding while remaining accessible to the general public. »

The bet of young talents

In 1979, two singers were already well established in the musical landscape when Starmania first came out on record: France Gall, Michel Berger’s muse, and Diane Dufresne, her equivalent for Luc Plamondon. Daniel Balavoine, who has just released his third album The singerwill complete his transformation into the role of Johnny Rockfort and his SOS a landowner in distress.

Fabienne Thibeault, she will reserve the future classic Against each other. And Claude Dubois will forever be associated with the character of Zero January and his inescapable Blues du businessman (I wanted to be an artist) karaoke nights. Today, the production is betting on young talents (Lilya Adad, Adrien Fruit, Alex Montembault, Malaika Lacy, Magali Goblet) because the stars are the songs.

A decor inspired by Frantz Lang’s Metropolis

After three years of Covid-related twists and turns (reservations, cancellations, refunds, etc.), the show, produced by Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, finally exists in its decor inspired by Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Mœbius boards. Under its beams of light – 500 projectors – Thomas Jolly and Victor Le Masne will surely have a twinge in their hearts on Tuesday at the premiere: they were not born when the musical was born. Between them, they are exactly Luc Plamondon’s age today. And like like Starmania songs, not a wrinkle.

Starmania, from November 8 to January 29, 2023 at the musical Seine (Boulogne-Billancourt). 3 hours. Then on tour from February 2023.

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