Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Pop Opera part 1/3 - Malcolm Mclaren

I've been to one opera and that was enough for me. It is very small minded but like most classical music I figure there is so much pop music I haven't heard that there isn't much room for anything else.

Sometimes a bit of opera sneaks its way into pop music and as i mini series I thought I'd share 3 examples where it really works

First up is Malcolm Mclaren who recorded a whole lp "Fans" of the mix up. At the time he claimed it would be the new rap music or something, master of the understatement as usual.

The track that was a single was Madam Butterfly that merged elements of Puccini's opera with Mclaren's narrative as Lieutenant Pinkerton with Cio Cio San his unfortunate Japanese wife played by both an opera singer and a pop singer.

Some of the lyrics are cringe worthy especially Mclaren's who talks in a bizarre American accent. Puccini's music weaves in and out of an electronic backing. The whole thing should have been a massive mess but somehow it really works. It helps that the female pop singer (couldn't find out who the singer was) does a great vocal and in her own way holds her own with the opera singer.

Released as we were just about to enter a period of pop blandness, this still sounds as fresh as when I first heard it.

Madame Butterfly - Malcolm Mclaren

The video however has that mid 80s "art piece" written all over it



  1. didn't he do something built around waltzes as well?

  2. notsure - I do remember another pop gem jumping in your shirt or something


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