Space Opera

I can’t resist – did you see the departure – and the arrival! – of the astronauts for the International Space Station? hey, there is a Frenchman, and he is from Rouen – sorry, it is my second: Vive la France & Vive Rouen, the city of a hundred steeples that watches the Seine flow –
I was amazed – terrified – of course – stuck to the screen – there are no words to talk about this happy, incredulous terror that just wants to believe, and that is realized in the middle of the night. It is always so fascinating, so impressive, so titanic too, to see them leave for space. How could we get tired of such an adventure?

Then I even watched last night the tour of the owner (yes ? well…. yes, ‘tour of the owner’ ) that Thomas Pesquet had made during his previous mission – oh well, it’s an incredible mess in there, a cat couldn’t find her kittens – and with that, everything floats: we are very far from our space films.

After watching all of this, I wasn’t sure if I was that scared anymore: it must be really incredible to swim in the air like they do, to see your wrench go like that, hop it goes and flies away slowly. To have comrades floating above your head, to see feet appearing like that, through an entrance above you – I think what must also be impressive are the noises inside – but that’s just because I’m a scaredy-cat. Anyway – it’s fabulous to behold

Then, of course, I thought of the famous Space Operas.

Should I tell you about the cult film 2001 Space Odyssey, or all those films that explored the theme of space?
Or of those musicians who tried, with more or less success, to realize a real Space Opera ?

But all this is still a bit far from Opera – because it is very close to Space, and therefore a bit far from the rudimentary techniques of the Earth, isn’t it?

Now, staying with my goats, my donkeys and my cow floor, like most of us, I wanted an artwork that managed to combine the two, not to throw one away for the benefit of the other, but to weave the future from the past.

The ISS, Venus and the Moon seen from Earth

So, … of course…. as for me it is important, to joyfully celebrate this adventure, to talk again about Opera and Space, but really and naturally linked – as if it were a matter of course.
then, to do it

the scene of the Opera of the 5th element is frankly a pure jewel.

With grandiose spatial images behind the singer and the Royal Opera House in London in front of her – in short, the perfect combination of the old and the new – it needed both to be perfect. Yes, yes, I say it, this is the stroke of genius of this association, because we are surprised but not disturbed – because the colors are opposite but not in rupture – it looks easy, but it is surely one of the most difficult things to do, to invent a new vision for a scene which has never existed yet but which is already filled by images of other films, other shows. A real stroke of genius.

The young woman sings an arrangement of an excerpt from Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lamermoor.
The composer, Eric Serra, wrote this arrangement so that it would not be “singable” by a human voice. : “Since she was an alien in the film, I needed notes that a human being could not sing. So I had deliberately written things that were not singable, notes that were too high, too low, phrases that were too fast, that I was going to arrange with the sampler.”
He says that the opera singer who sang it blew him away, because she managed to sing parts he thought impossible to do : “she started to sing and it knocked me over. She sang 85% of it, things I didn’t think were technically possible. Then I sampled her voice and did my little tweaks. Today it may not seem like a big deal, but at the time, a lot of people were wondering how I did it.” E. Serra – Traxx 188 -2015.
Here is the excerpt, by Inva Mula:

Here is the excerpt in Lucia, by Zarina Maliti :

and the original, without the arrangements proposed by Eric Serra – sung – anyway – by a legend : Maria Callas

As the song was reputed to be impossible, it inevitably aroused vocations: here is a young Chinese woman who interprets it perfectly: Jane Zhang.

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Featured Image : the Earth, seen from the ISS

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