The most fitting way of honouring the 60th anniversary of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II, might be to introduce here illustrative cameos of his life gleaned from his biography. However, we cannot wait to share with readers the wonderful emotions HelloMonaco experienced as a result of attending the final rehearsal of a unique performance called “Elements”; a performance created in his honour. The principal idea in producing the show was to communicate congratulations to the ruler on his 60th anniversary, by creating a very special performance in the Cathedral of Monaco on March 14.
We went into the church, took our seats, watching the bustle of preparation and the moment when the choir, consisting of children and adults, walked onstage. As we discovered later, the choir was composed of the students of the Musical Academy of Rainier III (L’Académie de Musique Rainier III), the singers of the Monte-Carlo Opera and the artists of the “Formation Internationale Professionnelle Artiste du Chœur” (FIPAC).
At one point, the lights went out and everything went quiet. First, we felt an amazing vibration and then the first recognizable sounds of the symphonic composition of Richard Strauss “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” came. What was even more surprising, it started “snowing” in the temple. This effect was achieved due to 4-D projections all around the perimeter of the cathedral, switching from one video series to another, in perfect harmony with the music.
The classical music in combination with the ambient electronic sounds plunged the audience into a mystical underworld. These emotions were fueled not only by visual effects, but also by the music of the composer Mario Mary, professor of electroacoustic composition of the Academy Rainier III.
A while later a serene return to earth and the art of life triumphed over the underworld. To the sound of the composition of Edward Elgar the temple filled up with imaginary flowers and it appeared to us that spring was already so close.
Eventually, Earth gradually started to turn into watery elements. Under the accompaniment of a piece from the suite “Carnival of Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens, we were immersed directly in the Underwater Kingdom of Neptune. Appearing before us was a realistic projection of marine life including sharks, jellyfish and many different kinds of fish. We had the impression that the presentation was intertwined with the work and initiatives of the Prince Albert II Foundation, concerning the Protection of the World’s Oceans.
Unexpectedly, the peaceful water scenes changed and the mood became one of increasing anxiety. The Temple was “on fire”! The deep notes of the organ increased this feeling. The sounds of the most famous work of Johann Sebastian Bach “Toccata” couldn’t leave the public unmoved.
After the element of fire, the air took over, reigning supreme. Heaven, angels and the corresponding musical accompaniment generated a feeling of lightness and tranquility. The culmination of the event was marked by the composition “Lux Aeterna” by Edward Elgar, in a magnificent performance by the choir.
After the final rehearsal HelloMonaco talked with the head of the production of “Elements” Ferxel Fourgon and discovered interesting facts about the performance.
“We are satisfied with the final result, but as the demonstration of the play for the Prince and the Princely family will take place in the evening, the lighting effects will show even more expressive colours. It is very important to note that the most important musical institutions of the Principality, such as our choirs and our orchestras, have united for a common goal – to congratulate the Prince. The videos were produced by “Magéo-productions” in cooperation with “Mediacom”. It may be surprising for people to learn, but it was Father Daniel, the priest of the cathedral, who was the prime initiator behind this innovative performance. And what is indeed most delightful, is that his idea has been successfully realized. The plot of the play is based on the idea of the Creation and the four elements that accompanied it. It was important to show a parallel between the Church canons, while highlighting at the same time the initiatives of Prince Albert II, which are carried out through his Foundation. At 19:00 the Prince will attend the evening performance with his family and friends”.
HelloMonaco is sure that the Prince enjoyed this extraordinary gift for his anniversary – the wondrous “Elements”!