Monday, July 12, 2010

MMM: Come Aboard, We're Expecting You.

G'morning stargazers and welcome to another edition of the Monday Mood Music. Thanks to today's selection, I got quite the edumacation and I hope you will too.

Show of hands, how many people have seen The Fifth Element? It's a sci-fi adventure film from Luc Besson starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich. I'll spare you the plot synopsis. A futuristic film like this needs to create a fantastic vision of our daily lives to be, while still being familiar. A perfect example of how Besson achieves this balance is the musical performance by Diva Plavalaguna.

The Diva character was a minor one. I always assumed she was played by some opera singer, because it seemed simplest to just hire one woman to sing and be onscreen for four minutes. I was wrong. The Diva Plavalaguna is played by Maïwenn Le Besco, an actress and mother to one of director Luc Besson's daughters. Interesting fact, Ms. Le Besco is rumored to be Mr. Besson's inspiration for Mathilda from his film, The Professional.

Part of what makes the Diva's performance so memorable was the exotic look and crazy gestures of Ms. Le Besco, but now you have to wonder, who did the singing? That credit is due to opera soprano, Inva Mulam though she was not the first choice. Besson wanted to use a 1950's recording of Maria Callas, but the quality was not good enough. Michel Glotz, agent to the late Callas introduced Besson to Mula and the rest is history.

Which brings us to the song itself. The Diva's performance in The Fifth Element is actually two different songs. The first part is titled, Aria of 'Lucia di Lammermoor' and it comes from Gaetano Donizetti's opera Lucia di Lammermoor: "Il dolce suono" which is apparently known as the mad scene of Act III, Scene II. I know nothing about opera, so that's the best I got. Actually, this part of Mula's performance was accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra under conductor Frédéric Chaslin, so I got that, too. But that's it.

The second part of the song is The Diva Dance. Mula still performs, but the piece was created by Eric Serra, composer for much of the music for The Fifth Element. While listed as two separate pieces, the Aria of 'Lucia di Lammermoor and The Diva Dance are combined in the film to appear to the audience as one seamless piece. The effect is one funky opera/dance song that pairs well with the interwoven Jovovich fight scenes.

Who knew? Now we all do. Enough edumacating, it's time to enjoy:

Aria of 'Lucia di Lammermoor'/The Diva Dance -
Inva Mula and the London Symphony Orchestra

Large Association of Movie Blogs

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