“All you need is to think you’ll be able to sing”

16 December 2015

Répétition Opéraoké 12 décembre 2015 ©Fabrice Labit

Rehearsals, workshops, training? Whatever they are. Three sessions were scheduled last weekend. Two on Saturday 12 December at the Maison des Pratiques Artistiques Amateurs at Rue Didot with novices. The third on the next day, at the temporary premises of the Opéra Comique located at Rue du Sentier, with choirmasters from the Paris region. Christophe Grapperon directed the singers at all three. 
The goal was to prepare the operatic rendez-vous scheduled next June inside the UEFA fan zone on the Champ-de-Mars esplanade in Paris for the 2016 UEFA European Championship, an event called Operaoke. The project is to invite a maximum of people to sing in the form of a huge karaoke by taking advantage of the screens on which the matches from all over France will be broadcast from June 10 to July 14. Except that on Saturday 18 June at 12.30 p.m. you won’t see 22 players running after a ball as expected but Christophe Grapperon as choirmaster, the lyrics to the selected arias from the repertoire displayed as subtitles, and thousands of amateur singers supervised by professionals who will conduct the throng of families and supporters from around the world and willing to demonstrate that the hits of the Opéra Comique can unite people beyond what is anticipated. “It will be mostly necessary to avoid trying to do a show,” the choirmaster said repeatedly, “We are not in a production but in a feast. This Operaoke must be a display of sharing, of good humor, people will come to have a good time. Everybody is invited and everyone will participate with one’s voice in singing hits.” 
The three sessions also allowed us to clarify the level of ambition and exactness of the project. An army of singers is advancing, the 150 who were there last weekend forming the vanguard. “All you need is to think you’ll be able to sing,” hammered Christophe Grapperon. “Spread the word, there will be something for everyone.”
Further sessions are due on 12 and 13 March and on 21 and 22 May 2016.
The first three sessions showed that far from the definitions of terms, the distinction of level between outstanding quasi-professional singers and amateurs, between vocalists and choirmasters, there was first the pleasure of being together, of singing and just going with “inescapably joyful tunes”. To put it simply, we had a lot of fun.

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