Saturday, October 6, 2018

Indulging my Two Secret Passions: Tintin and Opera

In the Tintin books by HergĂ©, the opera singer Castafiore always sings "The Jewel Song" from Faust by Charles Gounod. If fact, she never sings anything but "The Jewel Song" from Faust. In the Tintin movie, however, Castafiore does not sing her signature song; rather, she sings something from Romeo et Juliette, which is another opera by Gounod. Seven years later, I still wonder why the movie makers decided to change her quintessential song from one opera by Gounod to another. Was it laziness? Did it have to do with copyright? Did they not do their research? Could their soprano not hit the notes (doubtful, since the song from Romeo et Juliette is the higher of the two songs)?

This image does not belong to me, so don't come for me, Image Police.
I have no answers, BUT I do have a new question. Today, I was listening to a Maria Callas CD, and "Una voce poca fa" from The Barber of Seville came on. I recognized the beginning melody as the song to which Castafiore makes her entrance in the Tintin movie. In the movie, after the first thirty seconds of "Una voce poca fa," the song switches to "Je veux vivre dans ce reve" from Romeo et Juliette, and Castafiore begins to sing.
It's one thing to mix up two songs by the same composer, but The Barber of Seville isn't even BY Gounod! It's by Rossini. Furthermore, it's in an entirely different language. Why in the world would the people in charge of the music for The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn splice together two songs from two different composers who wrote in two different languages and lived about thirty years apart? Why in the world didn't they have Castafiore sing "The Jewel Song" like she was supposed to? Will I ever have answers??

Check out the scene for yourself: