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This is like Guitar Hero on expert, but with your voice.
February 22, 2013 2:15 AM   Subscribe

You know the blue alien lady that sings that crazy techno opera song in The Fifth Element? Said to be humanly impossible, Laura sings it without any digital enhancements. The original singer's voice is sung by Albanian soprano Inva Mula.
posted by Blasdelb (32 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nearly 4.5 million hits on this one so far.
posted by rongorongo at 2:52 AM on February 22, 2013


Pardon my ignorance....but if it's humanly impossible then how was it recorded by a human? Do they mean, "impossible without any effects on the voice?"
posted by Thistledown at 3:43 AM on February 22, 2013


Ugh. Must comprehend before coffee. Ignore me.
posted by Thistledown at 3:44 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


TIL:
The Diva opera performance featured music from Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor "Il dolce suono", the mad scene of Act III, Scene I and it was voiced by the Albanian soprano Inva Mula-Tchako, while the role of Plavalaguna (the Diva) was played by the French actress Maïwenn Le Besco.
[link includes lyrics & translation]

Apparently director Luc Besson wanted to use a legendary rendition by Maria Callas, but the existing audio quality was poor to nonexistent.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:55 AM on February 22, 2013


I really only liked the words...everything else...
posted by QueerAngel28 at 4:10 AM on February 22, 2013


This is a rendition by Maria Callas
posted by Blasdelb at 4:22 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks, early-morning goofed with the double-link there.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:27 AM on February 22, 2013


Any documentation on the whole "said to be humanly impossible," "digitally enhanced" part? Googling around I'm not seeing that.
posted by edheil at 4:50 AM on February 22, 2013


It's a line from the movie.
posted by Benjy at 4:52 AM on February 22, 2013


The movie version took a roundtrip through ProTools for assembly -- those machine-gun glottal stops are the problem -- but Inva Mula sang every note as delivered.

Laura's version glisses over those difficult stops.

She's good, but I have to say the Maria Callas version of the first half actually brought me to tears.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:10 AM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think it's this part here that folks assume was chopped up in the editing. Certainly sounds like it.
posted by Peevish at 5:14 AM on February 22, 2013


She didn't do the part where they pull a stone cube out of her abdomen.
posted by goethean at 5:38 AM on February 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


There is nothing in what she sang that would be difficult for a high coloratura soprano of middling ability. This would be especially true if there were no need to produce any real volume due to the use of a microphone.
posted by slkinsey at 6:35 AM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Certainly sounds like it.

Yeah, the movie version was corrected to shit, which is a shame because it sounds like they didn't need to.

Really my bigger concern is the beat she's singing to - what the hell is that? It sounds like production music you might hear in a PSA where white dudes in leather jackets rap about eating enough veggies or saying no to drugs.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:04 AM on February 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


because it sounds like they didn't need to.

Laura doesn't (and probably can't) match the digital sharpness at all. She plays the original soundtrack underneath and I can hear the difference pretty clearly. I think the composer wanted it to sound artificial - like The Diva was singing through pipes, not across a vocal cord.
posted by muddgirl at 7:19 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes yes. The Diva was bluuuuuuuuue. It was clearly supposed to sound "alien."

And fine. Yes. Maria Callas. Sure. But seriously, Natalie Dessay. Natalie Dessay! NATALIEEEEE DESSSAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!
posted by jph at 7:33 AM on February 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


No one else notice the creepy dude in the upper left corner that pokes his head into the shot?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:37 AM on February 22, 2013


When I watched it just now a caption appeared for him identifying him as her husband.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:40 AM on February 22, 2013


She also kinda cheats, at the large glissando(?) part it sounds like she omits the first lowest seconds since they are out of her vocal range.

Still very impressive, of course.
posted by ymgve at 7:41 AM on February 22, 2013


The creepy dude is her husband according to the annotations.
posted by cmfletcher at 7:43 AM on February 22, 2013


Cool Papa Bell: "No one else notice the creepy dude in the upper left corner that pokes his head into the shot?"

Hey, memento mori, buddy. Or memento turpii, I suppose.
posted by boo_radley at 7:58 AM on February 22, 2013


No one else notice the creepy dude in the upper left corner that pokes his head into the shot?

That Darwin Deez sure gets around.
posted by rory at 8:07 AM on February 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Really my bigger concern is the beat she's singing to - what the hell is that? It sounds like production music you might hear in a PSA where white dudes in leather jackets rap about eating enough veggies or saying no to drugs.

Ahh, that would be an artefact of Luc Besson's preoccupation with Eric Serra. Some things are best left in the 80s.
posted by Drexen at 8:18 AM on February 22, 2013


Fuck autotune -- yeeeeeaaaah!
posted by mazola at 8:34 AM on February 22, 2013


She can sing yes... but does she have the four stones in her stomach?
posted by vonstadler at 9:18 AM on February 22, 2013


You know a joke isn't original anymore when the first youtube comment has it already?
posted by MartinWisse at 9:32 AM on February 22, 2013


This proves nothing. She's not classified as human, she is a meat popsicle.
posted by cmfletcher at 9:34 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I watched it just now a caption appeared for him identifying him as her husband.

We're newlyweds. Just met. You know how it is. We bumped into each other, sparks happen...

Multipass.

Yes, she knows it's a multipass. Anyway, we're in love.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:47 AM on February 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


I can do that. I just choose not to.
posted by mule98J at 12:04 PM on February 22, 2013


What an awful piece of "music."
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:41 PM on February 22, 2013


Does anyone else really enjoy watching her face as she makes these sounds? I haven't been up close with anyone trying to sing opera, so I'm just going to assume an opera is full of people grimacing hilariously in slow motion.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:05 AM on February 23, 2013


I like her rendition, but yeah, she completely just glisses through the part in which there's no attack envelope on the voice. The human voice is a lovely thing, but it's still a pneumatic instrument and there's certain phrasing that you will never, ever get, short of body modifications.

It's worth noting that Fifth Element is from Pro Tools prehistory—the software was in use, but this piece was composited using samples on a hardware sampler, and the articulation and the fact that the vibrato scales with the notes is pretty much a signature of that method. I always sort of watch it wishing they'd been a hair more imprecise, leaving on just enough of the original attack in the notes to make it sort of plausible, but, as evidenced by the presence of the much-overused orchestra hits, there was an aesthetic of the time and they were faithful to it.

In a way, the original soundtrack piece alludes to the notion of navigating around pitches in the way that yodeling manages neighbor tones and quirks of resonance in the vocal tract, so it's a neat allusion to the possibility than an alien singer just has alien pipes.

Still, fabulous rendition, gliss or no.
posted by sonascope at 6:54 AM on February 24, 2013


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