Musical comedy: “Starmania”, galactic show

Musical event of the season, starmania went into orbit on November 8 at the Seine Musicale before a tour that will take the rock opera by Michel Berger and Luc Plamondon throughout France until June 2023. Thomas Jolly directing, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui for the choreography, Aurélien Binder and Thierry Suc for the production, Victor le Masne for the musical direction, Nicolas Ghesquière for the costumes, Jean-Baptiste Mondino for photographing the posters… the production, financed by Fimalac by Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière for the record amount of 7 million euros, aimed for excellence and gigantism. A partially successful bet with a very spectacular show favoring power over nuances. Report in five highlights.

► Rock like in a stadium. Singers descending from the sky, stunning special effects, with sound, lights, videos, smoke, monumental sets in action and staging surprises, powerful choreographies, a debauchery of choristers and dancers, an unleashed rhythm section that offers virtuoso guitar solos, powerful voices… starmania 2022 assumes its rock side with sonic breadth and visual gigantism.

► A prophetic darkness. With the support of the son of Michel Berger and France Gall, Raphaël Hamburger, at the origin of this version, Thomas Jolly wished to present the story told by starmania at the heart of its staging. The confrontation of eight characters in a sprawling and inhuman city features two would-be dictators vying for power, two terrorists, a media star, a fallen actress, a hopeful for fame and a waitress, coryphee of this drama. Physical and political violence, eco-anxiety, authoritarian excesses, media obsession, indiscriminate terrorism, and even destruction of “the tallest tower in the West”… the darkness of the rock opera created in 1979 today seems cruelly prophetic.

► Immortal songs. One against the other, When we arrive in town, Need for love, The blues of the businessman, The world is stone… Immortalized by France Gall, Diane Dufresne, Daniel Balavoine, Fabienne Thibeault or Maurane, the songs of starmania belong from their first sentence to the collective memory. It is the great strength of this show that makes it possible to find them, with a cast of new talents whose names had been kept secret until the premiere. Vocally, this young and valiant troupe sends heavy. Zeal intended to mark the spirits from the beginning? Or bias to saturate the sound to make even more the pieces of bravery?

► An unequal show. If some songs are penalized by excessive emphasis and a flashy abundance of effects, several highlights hit the mark. It’s the supercharged choreography of Ziggy surrounded by his exact copies inspired by the look of Julien Doré; the electric encounter between the thug Johnny and the presenter Cristal filmed in a choppy, shaky and nervous video, like stolen footage from a paparazzi; the striking staging of SOS a landowner in distress, an arduous title that Daniel Balavoine had carried over nearly three octaves and which his new performer, Côme, took over. Or the vocal energy of Lilya Adad singing Need love at the heart of delicious scenic finds, including the languid swaying of spotlights that oscillate in rhythm.

► A star is born. With Alex Montembault, who interprets the waitress Marie-Jeanne, a star at least hatches in starmania. A splendid palette of vocal nuances in the reserve as in the flight, an impeccable phrasing, a right dramatic intensity… From the song A boy like no otheruntil the final bouquet of The world is stone, Alex Montembault achieves a clear round. The young artist carries the moments of emotion that open the breath of the show, which also offers three suspended beats to fans of the first hour. At the beginning, a young man with curly hair plays alone on the piano the theme of starmania, moving evocation of Michel Berger whose face will appear on stage behind the artists during the salutes. And in the middle of this musical and visual surge of almost three hours appears on the screen of a café a young blonde singer, seated. Carrying in all sobriety, by the charm of her voice and her presence alone, Monopolis, France Gall, radiant, delicately awakens nostalgia.


A legendary rock opera

April 10, 1979.starmaniaopera-rock by Michel Berger and Luc Plamondon was created in Paris, with France Gall, Daniel Balavoine, Diane Dufresne, Fabienne Thibeault…

1988-1989. A second version reveals Maurane.

1990 to 1992. World tour and German and English versions.

1993 to 2001. Lewis Furey directs a starmania revamped

2004 to 2016.Starmania Operasymphonic adaptation, is touring the stages of the world.

2009. New television version on France 2.

November 8, 2022. Premiere of the new starmania.


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