An Opera Based on the Tragic Story of…Milli Vanilli?

The story of Milli Vanilli is rather Faustian.  Two unknowns make a deal with the devil (read: the music industry) to make them famous while unwittingly giving up their souls.  When the deal is exposed (i.e. their fraudulent, award-winning lip-syncing) they are cast out.  Humiliated and broken, one of them is eventually driven to suicide.  Their legacy is one of shame, sadness and disgrace.

When you look at Milli Vanilli in this context, you can see why an opera might work.

Joe Diebes (composer), Chirstian Hawkey (poet) and David Levin (no idea) are working on an opera based on the Milli Vanilli story called Wow.  The musical constructions they intend to use sound extremely complex–backing tracks, anyone–but here’s hoping that the performers will actually sing.  We’ll find out when the first performances begin in New York on January 23.

Read more about Wow in the Artsbeat section of the New York Times.  Get with the libretto with the help of this video.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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