Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera

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Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera
Opera by Julien Bilodeau
Another Brick in the Wall–The Opera Original Art.jpg
Original production art by Opéra de Montréal
Librettist Roger Waters
Language English
Based on The Wall
by Pink Floyd
Premiere
11 March 2017 (2017-03-11)

Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera is an opera by composer Julien Bilodeau and librettist Roger Waters, based on the concept album The Wall (1979) by the progressive rock band Pink Floyd, of which Waters is a founding member. It premiered at Opéra de Montréal in March 2017, and was produced by Cincinnati Opera in July 2018.[1]

History

Pierre Dufour, former general director of Opéra de Montréal, wrote to Pink Floyd co-founder and songwriter Roger Waters about the idea of an opera based on the Pink Floyd concept album The Wall (1979). Waters said that he replied to Dufour with a "rather pompous" letter which claimed that any conversion of rock music into orchestral music always became an "unmitigated disaster". However, the production team sent Waters computer-generated renditions of a few of composer Julien Bilodeau's pieces from the opera, and Waters was convinced to join and support the production as the librettist. Waters said he was "very moved" by the music and went into the project with "great enthusiasm". The opera premiered at Opéra de Montréal as part of the city of Montréal's 375th-anniversary celebration. Due to unprecedented sales, the Opéra de Montréal added three performances of the opera on top of the initial seven performances.[2][3]

Synopsis

The opera's plot is taken directly from the 1982 movie The Wall. A musician named Pink reflects on his lonely childhood through a swirl of flashbacks and chemically-induced hallucinations. He watches as he constructs a symbolic wall around his life to cope with the death of his father, his overbearing mother, his depression, his drug addiction, and other emotional experiences. As he ages, his madness intensifies, and he hallucinates himself as a dictator and his concert audience as a neo-Nazi rally. This hallucination drives him to imagine a judge ruling him innocent, setting him free, and ordering the wall to be taken down.[4]

Roles

Role Voice type Premiere cast, March 11, 2017
(Conductor: Alain Trudel)
Pink baritone Etienne Dupuis
The Mother soprano France Bellemare
The Father tenor Jean-Michel Richer
The Wife soprano Caroline Bleau
Vera Lynn mezzo-soprano Stéphanie Pothier
The Teacher tenor Dominic Lorange
The Crown Prosecutor baritone Geoffroy Salvas
The Judge/The Doctor bass Marcel Beaulieu

Music and instrumentation

In Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera, composer Julien Bilodeau shapes and builds upon the original music of Pink Floyd's album The Wall. While the album's lyrics, songs, and song order are maintained, Pink Floyd's original musical themes are extended by orchestral variations and interludes within the opera.[5][6]

According to Cincinnati Opera's artistic director Evans Mirageas, Another Brick in the Wall is not a rock opera, but rather a standard opera, scored for eight soloists, 48 chorus members, and a 70-piece orchestra.[4][7]

Critical reception

The critical reception of this opera was mixed. Kory Grow of Rolling Stone said that the production team "[t]ransformed rock and roll into pure opera," and that this opera is "here to stay."[2] Musical Toronto's Jennifer Liu noted that Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera "shines a glaring light on a society which grapples with conflicting models of openness to the world," and that the opera is an "immersive ride for the audience."[8] Arthur Kaptainis of Montreal Gazette called the opera "a sullen, gloomy flop given the appearance of success."[9] Graham Strahle from Music Australia added that this opera is "the perfect way" to "bring in new audiences outside [of opera's] traditional base." [10]

Notes

  1. ^ "Cincinnati Opera to give U.S. premiere of 'Another Brick in the Wall' with music by Pink Floyd's Roger Waters". Cincinnati Enquirer. 16 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Roger Waters on 'Interesting, Moving' The Wall Opera". Rolling Stone. 14 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Roger Waters Collaborating on Opera Based on Pink Floyd's The Wall". Rolling Stone. 5 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b Copley, Rich (2017-03-14). "'Another Brick in the Wall' opera U.S. premiere Cincinnati 2018 | Lexington Herald Leader". Kentucky.com. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
  5. ^ "Pink Floyd's rock opera, as opera". The Economist. 10 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera isn't just symphonic Pink Floyd". Montreal Gazette. 6 December 2016.
  7. ^ "'The Wall' Opera Gets U.S. Release Date". Entertainment Weekly. 13 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Another Brick in the Wall An Immersive Ride". Musical Toronto. 12 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Another Brick in the Wall needs more rock to get on a roll". Montreal Gazette. 12 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Pink Floyd's The Wall to become an opera". Music Australia. 15 March 2016.

External links

  • official website
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