Starmania (partially found footage of French rock opera; 1979)

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Starmania le spectacle.jpg

Album cover of the complete live audio recording released in 1979 from renditions of the show's first version, performed between April 10th and May 3rd, 1979.

Status: Partially Found

Starmania is a rock opera by Michel Berger, with a libretto by Luc Plamondon, first performed on April 10th, 1979, at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. Originally recorded in the studio and released in 1978 as "Starmania Ou La Passion De Johnny Rockfort Selon Les Évangiles Télévisés" ("Starmania Or The Passion Of Johnny Rockfort According To The Televised Gospels"), featuring rising stars of the time, the album sold over 2.2 million copies in France alone[1] - the show was a great success, attracting 100,000 spectators in just three weeks.[2] It was so successful that the rock opera was completely revamped in 1988, 1993 and more recently in 2022. It even saw an English adaptation in 1992 by Tim Rice under the name Tycoon, though this was never officially performed on stage by the original cast.


The show was a great success and its triumph was widely covered by the French press, being the subject of numerous newspaper articles and TV reports.[3] There are still some public television archives available on the Internet, showing extracts of rehearsals for certain scenes.

On December 6th, 1979, the complete audio recording of the show, made from various recordings recorded throughout the 3 weeks of performances, was released in a 4-disc vinyl box set, with a booklet containing a brief description of the scenes and plot, and a collection of photos (a box set with 2 cassettes was released simultaneously).[4] The album was remastered on CD in 1991 and again in 2009, with a new booklet featuring new photos and exclusive interviews.[5]

Yet, despite this success, no video recording of the show seems to have been made, either for television or for a future release on home video (certainly because VHS became popular during the 80s) - even though future versions of the show have been captured and released on video.[6]

Research & Clips

Very few research efforts have been made to find videos of the original show, due to its marginal status (this first version was quickly forgotten in favor of the other newer versions, which were shorter, simpler and therefore more accessible). However, over time, documentaries and reports on the history of this work, a few very short extracts from the performances have appeared here and there, often from amateur archives.

In 2017, the documentary "Starmania, l'opéra-rock qui défie le temps" ("Starmania, the rock opera that defies time"), directed by Olivier Amiot, presented for the first time some previously unseen footage seeming to come from both amateur and official archives. The archive collection is very diverse and seems to cover the majority of the show. It includes performances of "Monopolis", "Quand on arrive en ville", "Starmania", "Ziggy", "Interview de Johnny Rockfort", "Un enfant de la pollution", "Meeting de Zéro Janvier", "Le bulletin spécial de Télé Capitale", "Les adieux d'un sex-symbol", "Ego Trip", "Ce soir on danse à Naziland", "Le monde est stone".[7]

In December 2018, YouTube user Marc Allart published France Gall's performance of "Besoin d'Amour", apparently interpreted during an evening, or rehearsal: this is the most consequential archive to have come down to us so far - as we have no way of contacting them, we can't find out if they have any more extracts from the show.

However, on closer inspection, it was found to be the same clip that appeared in the documentary: the clip is just started a little later and without any cuts or color correction. This suggests that it is a raw transfer of the same videotape that was supplied to the documentary. Furthermore, some of the other extracts shown have the same camera angle and point of view, suggesting that other clips were filmed, possibly on the same evening.


The recording of "Besoin d'Amour", presumably made during a show performance.


  1. Source: - vinyl & CD releases combined Retrieved 03 Jun '23
  2. From the STARMANIA, Le Spectacle liner notes: "Une production au Palais des Congrès (plus de 100.000 spectateurs en moins d'un mois) avec le concours d'EUROPE 1 et PERRIER."
  3. In issue no. 1271 of the weekly magazine Jours de France (April 21, 1979), featuring Michel Berger and France Gall on the cover, journalist Paul Giannoli devoted an article to Starmania, writing (extract): « Chaque soir près de quatre mille spectateurs sont magnétiquement attirés par le Palais des Congrès. Les indices de location laissent deviner qu'il en sera ainsi pendant les trente représentations. Lorsque le rideau ne se baissera pas (car il n'y a pas de rideau) sur la dernière représentation, mais que la constellation de projecteurs s'éteindra, toute une troupe de garçons et de filles pourront s'embrasser ; ils auront gagné, ils auront fait plus que cela en prouvant que le « musical » peut réussir ailleurs qu'à Broadway. »
  4. France Gall Collection detailing the contents of the 1979 box set. Retrieved 03 Jun '23
  5. Discogs page of the 2017 reissue (of the 2009 remaster). Retrieved 03 Jun '23
  6. Wikipedia page detailing home video releases of the show Retrieved 03 Jun '23
  7. For obvious copyright reasons, the footage in question cannot be shown or published on Youtube.