Thursday, June 24, 2010

Act I Scene 4 - French Rock Opera

Johnny Hallyday's rock anthem for this Scene leaves the Ghost for later and concentrates on the King's rouse, turning it into a full-blown orgy. You can hear the song HERE, but the words follow, and then my attempt at an English translation. Excuse the doggerel. As usual, I've not tried to reproduce the meter or turn into a good song.

Allumer les lanternes rouges
Le palais se transforme en bouge
La viande est rouge, le vin est rouge
Le sang est rouge, les sexes bougent

Le vin couve et l’orgie s’attise
Les rires deviennent gras comme des porcs
Les voiles de deuil font du striptease
Le noir devient multicolore

Du beau, du bon, du grand roi
Voyez mon beau père le crapaud
Du beau, du bon, du grand roi
Grossir et devenir pourceau

Les doigts gras tachent les corsages
Ils glissent de seins jusqu’en croupes
Les mains préparent le voyage
Les peaux s’appellent, les corps se groupent

D’après les mains il sont bien douze
A s’emmêler en sarabande
Ces apôtres de la partouze
Si pleins, si saouls, qu’aucun ne bande


Ce chien de roi, ce roi des chiens
La queue en baguette de tambour
Qui en rotant du vin du Rhin
Prend la reine et lui fait l’amour


The Orgy
Light all the red lanterns
The palace becomes a dive
The meat is red, the wine is red
The blood is red, sexes move

The wine smoulders and the flames of the orgy are fanned
The laughs becomes as coarse as hogs
The veils of mourning do a striptease
Black turns to many colors

The handsome, the good, the great king
See my stepfather the toad
The handsome, the good, the great king
Fatten and become a swine

Greasy fingers stain corsages
Slip from breasts to rump
Hands prepare their voyage
Skins call each other, bodies get together

From the hands, they must be a dozen
Mixing together in a racket
These apostles of the party
So full, so drunk, that none can get an erection


This dog of a king, this king of dogs
His tail like a drumstick
That, belching the wine of the Rhine,
Takes the queen and makes love to her


Hallyday creates strong, almost surreal images that may well be in Hamlet's mind. Lanterns cast a red light that makes the scene hellish in its carnality, at once about lust and gluttony. He also brings back the irony of the funereal wedding, with black veils coming off in a most lascivious way. Animal imagery is equally dominant, in line with Hamlet later calling Claudius a beast.

Hallyday/Hamlet sings all the words except "The handsome, the good, the great king", which the chorus sings. They may be the participants of the orgy in this case. Though the line is entirely ironic, Hamlet himself cannot bring himself to say them. The rouse is much more extreme than in staged productions, but with only songs to recreate the feeling of the play, it is fitting that Hallyday has gone for the operatic.

No comments: