Libertines’ Carl Barat gets his leathers on for Paris opera debut

Singer performs with Soft Cell's Marc Almond in opera 'Pop’pea'

Carl Barat has made his Paris opera debut, donning a red leather costume to play the character Nero in Pop’pea at Théâtre du Châtelet in the French capital. You can hear a track from the show below.

The Libertines man – who started studying drama as a student in his teens before pursuing a career as a musician – takes the starring role as the fiery emperor in the production, which is a version of the much-adapted 1642 opera Il Nerone. Soft Cell singer Marc Almond plays Seneca in it.

The official preview of the show was on Saturday night (May 26) and will be fully open to the public from May 29 to June 7.

Pop’pea is quite the career move for the singer/guitarist, who has appeared in one play before, Fool For Love, which ran in 2010 in London and also featured Sadie Frost.

In this new production Barat sings in a rock style rather than operatic, sharing the stage with characters as diverse as a breast-revealing empress, a cocaine-snorting servant in skintight shorts and rapping guards.

French musician Benjamin Biolay also appears in the production as Ottone, a love rival of Nero’s. Barat has a steamy love scene early in the play – albeit one pre-filmed and shown as a silhouette.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be the standard traditional play,” Barat told NME before Saturday’s performance. “I know it may raise a few eyebrows. But it’s different. So it’s an exciting project for that.”

Get the June 6 issue of NME for exclusive pictures of Barat in his new guise, plus an interview about the opera, his next solo album and how he’s been getting on writing new Libertines songs with Pete Doherty.

See for more information about Pop’pea.