That is a pity because what I like most about this show is the atmosphere they create. I have felt like they were pulling me into the story, and was literally stunned after the show ended, like I still hadn’t returned to my room.
Have you ever read a book, watch a movie…and feel like you’re in the story, flowing along with the world the author created? Just after a few minutes watching the video, I thought I was in there, not in the theater but there with the characters, with Robespierre, with the General, with Oscar, with Andre…And I was just watching a video on my small laptop screen, I wonder how the audiences who were actually there would feel. That is to say, the acting is really, really amazing.
But the storyline isn’t exactly how it is in the manga and anime.
Oscar’s mother died after giving birth to her, and it was the mother that named her “Francoise”. But after the mother’s death, Oscar’s father decided to call her “François”, and turned her to a soldier. This actually doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, he could hate his daughter, thinking of her as the cause of his wife’s death. But why turning her to a boy? Well, there was a scene where he talked with King Louis XV before this scene, but my Italian is very bad, especially after years stop using it, so I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. I just heard something about a heir and the General’s career in the army. Maybe the King was talking about the General needing a son to follow de Jarjayes military tradition?
The next scene was Robespierre saying something about Versailles. Yes, that is Robespierre! I feel like Robespierre was the storyteller, he was the one appeared the most in the show, and seem to be a mix of Dracula and a magician. 😀 I know, it’s crazy, but that’s how I feel. He always shows up after each scene, to retell what had happened, and express the feeling of the people of France over the event. And he seemed to be running a circus, with puppets and other crazy things 😀 Or all of those was just “an acting method suitable for theatrical performance.”.
The scene where Oscar’s father telling her she was going to be the Dauphine’s personal guard was like in the anime: he forced her to wear the uniform and she wasn’t really happy about it.
I like it better in the manga, where she’s more than happy to accept it. Oscar was just a child back then, she knew nothing about love, she referred swords over dolls and we know she would choose to practice fencing with Andre rather than going to a party with her sisters. It’s natural that she would be happy to take a job that would make any soldier proud.
But in this musical, Oscar and Andre didn’t start off as “children”. Obviously, the actor and actress were all adults, but the thing that showed they had fast forwarded the storyline was that, right after Oscar decided to be a man and do her best to be Antoinette’s personal guard, Andre dropped a “hint” about his feeling for her:
I sogni miei quelli che non saprai mai
I have a dream, which you’ll never know
*fangirl mode on* I Loooooooove this song *fangirl mode off*
Letting Andre saying this right at this moment might seem a bit abrupt, but it actually wasn’t and fitted in very well. Maybe it was because of the music? Well, this’s an opera show after all. All the songs are fantastic, but what made it more impressive is they know how to change the mood of the scenes, just using songs and music. The tension when Oscar and her father talked about her new duty, the seriousness when Oscar decided to go the path her father had chosen for her, quickly dropped for a minute so that Andre could show his suffering as Oscar decided to be a man. And everything lifted up again as Robespierre showed up and announced the arrival of the Austrian Princess with a cheerful song.
This guy on the right, Bastien, was a combination of Bernard and Alain, as he seemed to be Robespierre’s right hand, and also was a soldier under Oscar’s command. Like Bernard, he helped Robespierre in the revolution, and like Alain, he was the one messing with her on her first day at the French guard.
Now, think again, I’m not too sure that in the previous scene, Oscar’s father was telling her to be Antoinette’s guard, or to be a commander of the French guard, or both. Things moved a bit too quick here, and again, my Italian is terrible. But either way, they did know how to combine all the main events of the story and keep the storyline interesting. This is just a two hour video; we can’t expect every little thing to remain the same. And this musical is far better than what Demi did with the live action.
There was also a scene where Oscar and her father met King Loui XV, and they talked about Andre being her attendant. I’m not sure if they were also talking about Oscar being a commander of the French guard, because there was a mention of “feminine”. And then something about Oscar as a woman won’t be able to defend the Princess. Maybe it wasn’t the French guard, but a group of guards who took care of Antoinette’s safety and Oscar was the leader?
Marie Antoinette showed up in her underwear, running away from the maids and complaining about her new life. This actually put an off to someone who doesn’t know the original story. I mean how would you feel toward a character running around half naked, saying that she doesn’t love her husband and feels lonely? Isn’t it a very clear sign that she’s gonna cheat on him sooner or later? Would you like that kind of women? Also the song’s melody was more suitable for a younger version of Marie Antoinette. It created her first image as a childish selfish girl, who only want to run around and play. And it failed to show that Louis was neglecting her, and that she was all alone in the big foreign palace.
I also don’t like her makeup and dresses. They couldn’t create her image of an elegant Queen. The Queen of France, whose beauty could make any man’s heart stop beating, indeed needed a more stunning dress than this.
First I thought the clothing had to be short and simple so the actresses could move around easily. But the dresses of all the poor people of France were quite longer, though not very fancy.
Even Oscar’s dress in the dancing scene was better than the Queen’s dress. I mean it at least looks like a real dress, not like a bunch of sparkling cloths sewn together. I know they focus on Oscar and Andre as the main characters, but did they really have to put off all other characters?
However, all the masculine clothing in this show were quite good, including Oscar’s uniform. Though it wasn’t exactly like the original, it was still able to show that she was a commander. Oscar’s father uniform was completely different but still carried a “military feeling”, and so did other men clothing in the show. They weren’t exactly like in manga and anime, but they did their job as portraying the characters ’positions.
It seemed this musical was doing the opposite of what Takarazuka did. While Takarazuka tried to make everything more complex and splendid, those who made this Opera tried to simplify everything.
Yet I really can’t understand why they put Antoinette (and other nobble ladies) in those Tinker Bell dresses. Perhaps they actually think those were beautiful. (Well I don’t think so, but hey, it’s just my preference)