Starmania | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Starmania. Rock opera, lyrics by Luc Plamondon, music by French composer Michel Berger (b 1947, d 1992).


Starmania. Rock opera, lyrics by Luc Plamondon, music by French composer Michel Berger (b 1947, d 1992). A parody of 1970s celebrity, Starmania is set in the futuristic city of Monopolis, where characters struggle to overcome the solitude and corruption of a society saturated by entertainment and media.

The first production, at the Palais des congrès de Paris in 1979, achieved moderate success. The cast included Fabienne Thibeault, Diane Dufresne, Nanette Workman, and Claude Dubois. The following year, Starmania was performed at the Comédie national de Montréal with a cast that included Louise Forestier, Martine Saint-Clair, France Castel, Sylvie Boucher, Robert Leroux, Gilles Valiquette, Jacques Blais, and Michel McLean. Six years later, the opera was revived at the Festival d'été (Festival international) de Lanaudière, with Marie Carmen, Marie-Denise Pelletier, Maude, Anne Bisson, Norman and Richard Groulx, Jean Leloup, and Marc Gabriel. Starmania was a resounding success in 1988 when it ran for several months at the Théâtre de Paris with Maurane, Martine Saint-Clair, Sabrina Lory, Wenta, Norman and Richard Groulx, Renaud Hantson, and Luc Lafitte. The show, seen by 700,000 persons, toured the principal cities of France, Switzerland and Belgium, and even went to Moscow.

Several songs, including "La Complainte de la serveuse automate," "Le Monde est stone," and "Le Blues du businessman," became classics. Starmania has been recorded many times: with the original cast of 1979 (2-Kébec-Frog KF-8001-8002), the cast of 1980 (Beaubec BB-106), that of 1986 (Audiogram AD-10-107), and that of 1988 (2-WEA 24-42131 and Apache CD-44213). Recordings were also made in 1994 by the Mogador theatre cast (Oxygène) and in 1998 (20th anniversary soundtrack, WEA).

Later revivals of Starmania included an award-winning production directed by Lewis Furey in Paris 1993-4 and in Montreal at Théâtre St-Denis in 1994. The musical has been translated into German and English (the latter by Tim Rice, entitled Tycoon, and recorded by Céline Dion, Tom Jones and others). The rock opera remains a highly popular production in Quebec and Europe, and the original recording was named an AV Preservation Trust Masterwork in 2004. A symphonic version was presented at the Festival d'été de Québec in 2005 and has been performed with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and in Ottawa (28 Apr 2007) with the National Arts Centre Orchestra.