French Language Blog

French Music – Cleopâtre Posted by on Sep 30, 2009 in Music

One of the most popular musicals right now in France, Switzerland and Belgium is Cleopâtre: La Dernière Reine d’Egypte (Cleopatra: The Last Queen of Egypt).

Having opened at the Palais des Sports in Paris in January 2009, the show has been on tour throughout these three countries since May 2009 and will be returning to Paris at the beginning of 2010 for an extended showing.  Cleopatra is played by Sofia Essaidi who was a contestant and finalist on the highly successful Star Academy (France’s version of The One: Making a Music Star) back in 2003 when I was living in Paris.  She was born in Casablanca, Morocco and was considered by many to be the best singer and student on the show that year.  After releasing a well-received album Mon cabaret in 2005, she fought hard to get the role of Cleopatra and has since been touring with the musical produced by theater director and choreographer Kamel Ouali, who was also the head choreographer for Star Academy.  Cleopâtre is the biggest musical comedy that has ever been made in France.

Act I begins in 51 B.C. upon the death of Cleopatra’s father.  Cleopatra inherits a huge empire – the land of the Egyptian pharaohs.  Her brother does everything, including an attempted assassination, to take the throne away from her and succeeds; but she is determined to get it back.  The 17-year-old runs away with her most loyal priestess and with her charm, convinces Caesar, who was getting ready to invade her empire, to give her the throne of Egypt.  She stays in Rome, much to the dismay of the Roman senators who see her as a threat.  A few years later, Caesar is assassinated and Cleopatra immediately returns to Egypt.

With Caesar dead in Act II, Octavian and Marcus Antonius decide to split the world where one gets the West and the other the East.  As part of the agreement, Marcus Antonius takes Octavian’s sister as his wife.  At the same time, back in Egypt, Cleopatra gains the respect of her people after setting them free and is at the height of her glory.  She is a brilliant politician and demands an alliance with Marcus Antonius.  The two become involved in a passionate and very public romance which is not at all viewed well by the Romans.  Octavian demands that Marcus Antonius choose between his sister and Cleopatra.  Marcus Antonius chooses Cleopatra and war begins.  The two lovers try to fight Octavian’s warriors, but the story ends tragically.

The soundtrack album has been on sale since August 2008 and features 25 songs, short clips of which you can listen to on the official website. There are also links on the site to buy the album, which reached the 11th spot on the French music charts.

For more information on the show, tour dates and reservations, you can check out the official Cleopâtre website

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