At a media conference last Thursday in the old baseball press gallery at the Olympic Stadium, the co-founder of Pink Floyd and the main creative force behind their acclaimed album The Wall talked about how the famous rock-opera had its beginning at the ill-fated Floyd show at the Big O on July 6, 1977.
That history is what led the Opéra de Montréal to hold the press conference at the controversial stadium in Montreal’s east end. The Opéra de Montréal was, in theory, unveiling its 2016-2017 season, which will include Verdi’s Aida, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Puccini’s La Bohème.
But if there was a standing-room-only crowd at the event, it was because it was the official announcement that Montreal will host the world premiere of Another Brick in the Wall — The Opera. It will play Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier of Place des Arts next year on March 11, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24.
On that night in July 1977, Waters was having a terrible time, as were his bandmates. They felt the raucous crowd wasn’t paying much attention to the music and before the end of the show, Waters’s colleague David Gilmour actually walked off the stage in disgust, while the band cranked out a blues jam.
Somewhere along the line that evening, Waters became so frustrated with the unruly fans that he spat in the face of one fan near the front of the stage. After, he felt terrible about what he did and began thinking about how alienated he was playing in these huge stadiums. That’s when he imagined a wall between the performer and the audience.
He spoke about the irony of coming back to Montreal to announce an opera inspired by a rather unpleasant moment in his life that happened here almost forty years ago.
“It was unpleasant,” said Water. “I accept that. I was unpleasant. The audience was unpleasant. But it clearly had an effect on me and the story I tell is that it had some impact on me creating this piece of theatre, which is extremely valuable to me …
“I was pissed off or disaffected because of a large number of people who, with all due respect to the population of Montreal, were drunk and not really paying much attention to what was going on on stage and some kid was scrambling up the front (of the stage) and I think that I spat at him. … I realized I was at the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. And I needed to express that I didn’t feel human and we all want to feel human. My response to that was to write a show that involved building a huge wall between me and the people that I was trying to communicate with.”
The last Roger Waters tour with The Wall Live was between 2010-2013 when it made almost $460 million USD.
The opera, inspired by the words and music of The Wall will have his operatic version composed by Julien Bilodeau and will be directed by Dominic Champagne and Alain Trudel will assume the role of conductor.