PICTURES. Behind the scenes of the Monaco on Stage exhibition

Eva Dmintenkro, cultural coordinator of Monaco on Stage, showed us around the different sections of the exhibition.

The exhibit emphasizes the fun side of music. Eva Dmitrenko tells us that the curator of the exhibition, Alex Jaffray, and the scenographer Rudy Sabounghi agreed on one sentence: “Play music”.

The Blackie, Eric Clapton’s guitar, lit up. Photo: Monaco Tribune

Light is often used to guide the visitor through the different rooms. The exhibition begins with several guitars that belonged to legendary guitarists (these are the same models, not the originals). The room is quite dark, but each guitar is lit in turn, in a specific order. The music of the guitarist in question follows the rhythm of the spotlights. The most famous instrument is surely the Blackie, invented by Eric Clapton. He built this guitar himself, using different guitars he had bought “for a pittance”, says Eva Dmitrenko.

A recreation of a diva’s dressing room. Photo: Monaco Tribune

We visit the reconstructed dressing rooms of two types of artists, the divas and the crooners. “The divas are female artists recognized for their extraordinary vocal prowess, but also for their particularly extravagant stage costumes,” explains the exhibition coordinator.

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As we continue, we are surrounded by music and light effects, which help to immerse the visitor in the exhibition. A long hallway is dotted with album covers from well-known bands. On our right, the portraits of the members of the various groups who came to perform solo in Monaco. “For example, Louis Bertignac from Telephone or Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys,” says Eva Dmitrenko.

After listening to several performances by great jazz singers, our immersion continues. A reconstruction of the walls of the Moods bar, autographed by the artists who performed there, leads us to the final experience. Here, visitors enter the stage as if they were the latest rock star to make it big. Lights, instruments, audience… everything is in place for a thirty-second demonstration. No spoilers!

The walls of Moods, covered in writings from artists who have played there

Before ending our tour, our favorite part of the exhibit was listening a cappella influential singers of their time. Three headphones, a small room, but a big thrill. Joséphine Baker, Sting, Charles Aznavour and Elton John take us into their vocal universe.

Many artists have performed in Monaco, whether at Sporting, Moods or the Opera. The last room of our visit is devoted to the twelve artists who performed the most on stage in the Principality. We let you discover for yourselves who they are, but among them are great French and international personalities. For example, Johnny Hallyday came to play in Monaco 12 times between 1962 and 2015.

Practical details:

  • Date: until December 31, 2022
  • Location: Quai Antoine I exhibition hall

James C. Tibbs