Another Brick in the Wall the Opera rocks Montreal for the 375th anniversary
Another Brick in the wall the opera – Most have a rather specific idea of what opera is. Rarely does that idea consist of rock music and a rock star. The Opéra de Montréal is about to challenge your preconceived thoughts on one of the oldest forms of musical drama with, Another Brick in the wall the opera.
Role back to July 6, 1977. Pink Floyd was in Montreal and there was a disturbing incident that even Roger Waters, himself, was shocked about. He spat on a fan after a number of disturbances during his set – firecrackers were being set off while he was trying to sing, a bottle was thrown on the stage.
Oh, that we could find that fan now.
“Time blurs many things.” That from Roger Waters in reference to that show so many years ago. Little did he know then, that the wheels had been set in motion for an adaptation of his work for an opera.
The Opéra de Montréal has created an opera based on the libretto of one of Waters’ albums, Another Brick in the Wall.
Waters has been consulted on a regular basis, but there was some breaking down of another metaphorical wall in getting him to hand over the rights to his music. This is the first time he has done so without being actively involved in the production of, or singing in the piece.
The opera has been in the works for forty years. The powers that be in the Opéra de Montréal went to New York and spoke with Waters about their ideas. He was hooked. “I confess, I sat there not expecting to be moved…and I was.”
Waters’ grandfather died in World War I and his own father died during World War II, when he was only 14 months old. A lot of his inspiration for the Wall came from that and his growing up in a troubled time.
Pierre Dufour, instigator of the project, has his own thoughts on the piece. He is a huge rock fan as well as an opera fan. “There are a lot of similarities between rock music and opera. In the early 80s when I was listening to the album, I saw it as a thematic album. I have always listened to the piece as an opera, and the lyrics of the piece deeply touched me because I lost my father when I was eight years old. The music has always been an important part of my life.”
‘We are following the libretto written by Waters in 1979 – A rock star reaches his own celebrity and he is fighting a lot of demons in his life. All the questions related to his (Waters) abusive mother, education, the loss of his father, impact on the themes that make up the piece, consisting of three songs.”
The show opens with a rock concert, then the school room, then a trial, with video being used throughout to bring a narrative frame that will help the audience understand the mind set of the time.
Julian Bilodeau is composing the opera version of the piece, Alain Trudel (Orchestre Metropolitain) will conduct, and Dominic Champagne will direct. Playing Pink, the fallen rock star, is baritone Etienne Dupuis. The opera will consist of 71 musicians, eight soloists, and a chorus of 48.
Opera, an art form that encompasses drama, comedy, music, singing, with a strong visual component, is capable of turning anything into a piece of magic on stage. No doubt that will be true with Another Brick in the Wall – The Opera.
Just in time for Montreal’s 375th anniversary! Montreal is a music city that has embraced rock and its musicians over the years, so it is most fitting that the world premiere of Another Brick in the Wall – The Opera is performed here, in our vibrant city. Our Montreal artists, set, lighting and costume designers, have all pulled together to adapt and create this iconic piece. Bravo Montreal –
How are the traditional opera goers responding to this rock solid effort? A lot of subscribers to the opera are from the era of rock music – that has resulted in 60 percent of the subscribers to the Opera de Montreal already investing in tickets to the show. No doubt, this is going to be a sell-out!
Another Brick in the Wall – The Opera is on March 11, 14,16, 18, 20, 22, 2017.
For more information: http://www.operademontreal.com
By: Sharman Yarnell – mtltimes.ca