FIGAROVOX/MAINTENANCE – On September 24 and 27 at the Military School of Paris will be held “The History of France, the Rock Opera”, a show to restore the taste of the history of France to young people. Necessary at a time when we are reluctant to return to our roots, explains Dimitri Casali.
Historian, Napoleon specialist, former history teacher in ZEP, Dimitri Casali regularly collaborates with the written press, radio and television. He is the author of some forty books including the New History Manual for middle schools, preface by J.-P. Chevènement (La Martinière, 2016), 100 dates in the history of France that made the world ( plon). In addition, he is the composer of “Napoléon l’Opéra rock” and of the “Histoire de France l’opéra rock”, historical and educational musical performances.
FIGAROVOX. – “The History of France l’Opéra Rock” returns with a second show at the Ecole Militaire in Paris, Saturday September 24 (full) and Tuesday September 27. What are the differences with the first opus? How is it built?
Dimitri CASALI. – «The History of France the Rock Operais a musical journey through time and history, from the birth of the French nation with the construction of cathedrals (12th century), to General de Gaulle, passing through Philippe Auguste “Montjoie Saint-Denis”! Saint Louis “soldier of Christ”, Joan of Arc, François I, Henri IV Rally to secularism, Louis XIV Nec pluribus impar! Our two emperors, Long live the tricolor! Verdun, hell is mud, Front Pop Pop Populaire! The Man Who Says No!”
The show lasts an hour and twenty, in 17 tableaux, and mixes rock, pop, rap, R’nB, classical, sounds, lights, projection of large tableaux of history paintings, which enchant and surprise the public.
The success of the premiere at the Alhambra on February 2 made it possible to find ways to improve the video projections that accompany the performance of the musicians. The new singers Mehdi and Paloma are better integrated into the original group, which has been with me since the beginning of the Historock experience. The show is now better run. We also have many dates in the Île-de-France region, we are also playing Tuesday, September 27 at the Théâtre de La Garenne-Colombes thanks to Mr. Philippe Juvin.
The history of France is difficult to understand, because it is the result of a double heritage: monarchical and Christian, on the one hand, and republican and secular, on the other. This is what gives this unique specificity to our collective identity.
You have decided to sing in order to transmit the love of the History of France. In your opinion, why is this necessary today?
«The History of France the Rock Operaexplores new ways of transmitting history to younger generations to bring them together around our heritage, our culture and our republican values, because it is through history that we form citizenship…
Its aim is to arouse curiosity and give a taste of the history of France to all young people, whatever their origins, and thus facilitate their integration by allowing them to acquire the basics of a general culture. which they lack. You just have to look around you to realize it…
Our motto is that of the great Ernest Lavisse. The history of France cannot be learned by heart, it is learned by the heart. It is difficult to understand, because it is the result of a double heritage: monarchical and Christian, on the one hand, and republican and secular, on the other. This is what gives this unique specificity to our collective identity.
Fortunately, there are still a few motivated people who believe in the virtue of celebrating the history of France and who have helped us. They are few in number, we only brought together 155 donors, but this allowed us to produce 18 video clips that complete our show and which are broadcast for free on our YouTube Historock channel. These videos feature key figures in our history and are commented on by a renowned historian.
They allow a wider distribution in schools and social networks among young people, everywhere in France. They are accompanied by educational sheets available on the Historock.com website.
At a time when the British are promoting the monarchy all over the world, how can we explain that France is struggling to transmit its history to the youngest and to make it shine internationally?
In France there is both a malaise and a complex. For 30 years, the media and a certain elite have maintained a guilt-inducing reading of our history. France would be responsible for all the evils of the earth: slavery, the slave trade, colonization, collaboration. But there is also a complex towards other peoples, who are proud of their history and know how to celebrate it, like the British with the Queen’s funeral.
Look at the bicentenary of Napoleon’s death… It was pathetic!… Imagine for a moment that the Emperor was English? So there, you would have seen a majestic decorum!
We have lost the sense of celebration, of communion, of the gathering of an entire people around a strong symbol and our patriotic values. The French of today are no longer up to their history. They are almost ashamed of it when it is one of the most beautiful in the world. Look at the bicentenary of Napoleon’s death… It was pathetic!… Imagine for a moment that the Emperor was English? So there, you would have seen a majestic decorum!
What’s more, it is frowned upon to sing the history of France, I have a terrible time getting National Education and the public or private media interested in this educational project. Today, the history of France appears outdated, dusty and off-putting. Come and see our show, you will find that it is not so. It’s not just the English who know how to celebrate their history, we also know how to do it.
If we want to walk towards the future, always go back to our roots. This is the message that I deliver in the “Grand Finalof the show when I address myself to all the children present.
The show “L’Histoire de France l’Opéra Rock” will take place on September 24 at the École Militaire in Paris, on September 27 at the Théâtre de la Garenne in Garenne-Colombes, on November 18 at the Théâtre Roger Lafaille in Chennevières on Marl. Tickets available here.