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Vangelis Opéra Sauvage (OST) album cover
3.53 | 113 ratings | 14 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hymne (2:46)
2. Rêve (12:32)
3. L'enfant (5:05)
4. Mouettes (2:31)
5. Chromatique (3:32)
6. Irlande (4:48)
7. Flamants roses (11:50)

Total Time 43:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Evangelos Papathanassiou / synthesizers (Yamaha CS-80, ...), piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, drums, percussion, xylophone, acoustic guitar (5), arranger & producer

- Jon Anderson / harp (7)

Releases information

Score for the nature documentary TV series of the same title by French filmmaker Frédéric Rossif

Artwork: Razzia with Véronique Skawinska (photo)

LP Polydor ‎- 2473 105 (1979, France)

CD Polydor ‎- 829 663-2 (1987, Germany)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy VANGELIS Opéra Sauvage (OST) Music

VANGELIS Opéra Sauvage (OST) ratings distribution

(113 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

VANGELIS Opéra Sauvage (OST) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by richardh
3 stars A truly superb New Age album that predated the genre by a few years.The melodies are beautifull and the music is light to the touch.Prog fans and Yes fans will be interested by the appearance of Jon Anderson playing the harp on Flamants Roses which is probably my favourite track on the album. Very very nice stuff BUT not very progressive to be honest.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My favourite track on this album is "Reve", which means "a dream" in English I believe. Actually it think that it is the best VANGELIS track of his earlier days, very silent, slow, long, beutiful... Can't get tired of listening to it and watching out of the window, as snowflakes slowly cover the city...

zzz zzz zzz

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have always considered this record as an introduction, a prelude to the "Chariots of fire" album and the subsequent ones. Indeed, it has a bit the same character as those albums: anthemic & floating songs; smooth, relaxing & nostalgic bits; very catchy airs. However, the recording here is a bit less flamboyant than Vangelis' best sounding albums of the 80's.

"Opera Sauvage" is not very well known, but it deserves attention. The tracks consist in beautiful New Age music, being not linear nor monotonic. This album was probably the first one to be more accessible to a broader public, and it clearly introduces the typical modern sound of the Vangelis of the 80's.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Matti
3 stars Vangelis released two albums in '79, the other was China. Opera Sauvage was composed for a French TV series, and it's considered to be one of his most accessible works from the 70's. The romantic 'Hymne' was later used in a TV ad, which made it one of his best known tracks for wide audience. But completely another question is, how important for the more advanced listeners is this album in the whole discography. Not so necessary, as it contains rather typical Vangelis tunes that are pretty beautiful per se, but it's a relatively mild "middle of the road" product, easy to like and easy to ignore. Therefor it's more recommendable to relaxation-seeking new listeners of Vangelis - or electronic music in general - than to those who have already heard a lot.

Album's highlight is 12½ -minute 'Reve' (=dream); soft, dreamy, melancholic, and reminding some parts of the Blade Runner sountrack - which is much better album in total. Also the short 'Mouettes' is a delicate and tender track which has dozens of similar cousins in the discography. 'Chromatique' reminds me distantly of a theme from Mutiny On The Bounty ('Deliverance'?), which is much more effective. 'Irlande': again, quiet and sleepy one. Actually this album (with some CD player programming) would serve well to put one into sleep at night. The other long track 'Flamants Roses' momentarily breaks up the sleepy atmosphere where it starts from and returns to - with another Blade Runner feeling. That final track gives the album's only surprise in the form of some harp playing by JON ANDERSON. Yeah, no vocals this time. 2,5 stars, rounded up for the fact that there is hardly nothing to dislike on this safe album.

PS. Ricochet's lengthy 2-star review is one of the deepest in thought that I've read lately.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars I'm a little surprised at the low score for this 1979 Vangelis album...not to be confused with 'La Fête Sauvage', his 1976 soundtrack for yet another nature film by Frédéric Roussif. This one may not have been as widely available as his premier studio albums of the era (and was likely overshadowed by the release of the more muscular 'China' that same year). And it deliberately lacks the bombastic synthesizer chords and melodramatic drum fills of his most popular albums ('Albedo 0.39', 'Spiral').

But this was Vangelis at his mid-1970s creative peak, when the Greek synth-rock wizard perfected the unique sound that set him apart from other keyboard superstars of the '70s. The album presents a more gentle but no less passionate variation of the same musical vision, highlighting the proto-New Age romanticism he almost could have patented: a combination of lush symphonic synth-strings and jazzy Fender Rhodes electric piano, sprinkled with exotic percussion.

Vangelis always had a knack for thematic hooks, and this album (even more than some of his others) is filled to capacity with melodies so simple and yet so haunting they can't help but sound familiar. Maybe for good reason: a lot of the music was used elsewhere, in television commercials and in the soundtracks of other, more widely seen films.

The evocative 'L'Enfant' was borrowed by director Peter Weir for his 1982 movie 'The Year of Living Dangerously'. The album opener 'Hymne' was featured in the Oscar© winning score of Hugh Hudson's 'Chariots of Fire' (the director had likewise wanted to use 'L'Enfant', in the now famous title sequence, until Vangelis introduced a new piece at the last moment. The rest, as they say, is history). And the atmospheric film-noir synth-harmonica in 'Reve' clearly anticipated his later, legendary soundtrack to Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'.

The album even reunited Vangelis with JON ANDERSON of YES, who plays some evocative harp on the dynamic album closer 'Flamants Roses'. At nearly twelve minutes it's one of the longer tracks here, and easily the most overtly proggy, offering another clue to what YES might have sounded like if Vangelis had agreed to replace RICK WAKEMAN.

Vangelis has released a lot of music in his ongoing career. But 'Opera Sauvage' certainly earns a top spot on the short list of his overlooked gems.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This is not the first collaboration between the Greek composer and the French wild animal film maker. But as far as I am concerned, this one is not the best of their common work.

I had to wait for the third song to find some good "Vangelis" music. "L'Enfant" is by far my favourite song from this album and it is premonitory of "Chariots Of Fire". Most of this album is on the ambient and new age styles. At times with a nice melody, at times with ?humm; what else? (like the long "Rêves").

I can hardly say that this "Opéra Sauvage" is a bad album, but it ranges to one of my least favourite of the artist (not talking about "Beaubourg" of course). The overall is too much of a tranquil affair and offers very little great atmospheres or stunning melodies.

It is just a succession of average soundtrack parts and as such it might sound wise to view the documentary as a whole to get a better idea. But it is quite a challenging task since there is no trace (or hardly) of this original project: some twenty one episodes just short of an hour.

More than these forty minutes of music must have been composed on the occasion. But that's all what's left. And the result doesn't score more than two stars in my books.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Let's skip Hymne. This short track has been made famous by a TV spot in my country and unfortunately is the Vangelis piece most known between the mainstream people, those who can recognize the music but don't know who the hell Vangelis is. I this this is the poorest track of this album. It's trivial and too melodic and it was used for a little girl who finds a kitty under the rain and brings it at home....the kind of things that can cause diabetis. An excess of sugar.

Apart of this, the album is the result of another collaboration with Frederic Rossif, so we are speaking of naturalistic documentaries soundtracks. "Reve" is slow, evocative of a rainy day. There will be something very similar on "Chariots of Fire", Abraham's theme if I remember correctly, but this is longer and more complex. A spacey track with some "electronic wind" in the background. A typical Vangelis track with some spare jazzy moments on a very melodic base. Chill Out.

Let's wake up with "L'Enfant". It's as melodic as Hymne, but has somethign of celtic or medieval even being totally electronic. A good one.

Back to space, or under a starry sky with "Mouettes". Well, this is newage, more than chill out. A couple of minutes of rhythmless melody and subtle keyboards.

"Chromatique" is unusual. The "simil-acoustic guitar" harping accompanies a strange and sad melody that has some "sitar" in the background. Of course it's not a true sitar.

"Irlande" as one can expect has a celtic mood. In the melody more than in the sounds used. A great piece.

Jon Anderson is credited of playing harp on "Flamant Roses". He's not Vollenweider. I too could probably play the harp in that way. However it's a curiosity and the track that's complex and has various different moments is absolutely not bad and the most "progressive" track of the album.

Good but non essential. And please skip the first track.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Brings out the beast in you

The music of Vangelis lends itself perfectly to film and documentary scores, so it is not surprising that his composition skills have been called upon many times by the visual media. Unlike some of contemporaries though, there tends to be little material difference between the music Vangelis writes for films and TV and his normal album output. Consequently, the fact that there are soundtrack albums present is largely transparent when viewing his vast discography. "Opéra sauvage" ("Wild or wilderness opera") is one such soundtrack album, the music being composed in 1979 for a French nature documentary made by Frédéric Rossif.

What to expect here is therefore pretty predictable, with pleasant but unintrusive melodies being the order of the day. That said, this is not simply a collection of ambient sounds or soft synths. The melodies can be reasonably strong and the beat occasionally forceful. The onomatopoeic "Reve" is the softest of the pieces, electric piano being the instrument of choice for the longest track on the album at almost 12½ minutes. "L'Enfant" has the distinction of having been used on two separate soundtracks, the piece also appearing in the film "The Year of Living Dangerously".

While Jon Anderson does not sing at all on the album this time around, he still manages to secure a credit by playing harp on the closing 12 minute track "Flamants roses".

Overall, a pleasant but unassuming release which offers no surprises but a more than palatable diversion (hic!). Incidentally, the sleeve was also designed by Vangelis (such as it is).

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Opera Sauvage" was released in 1979, quite a busy time for Vangelis and also during his most prolific and successful times. It falls between "China" and "See You Later", both albums being more accessible, the former being an excellent love letter to China and the latter being more focused on a "popular" sound. "Opera Sauvage" in contrast, is another soundtrack, made for a nature documentary. However, this album is more like Vangelis' signature sound and less like his other soundtracks. Many consider it one of his best and most important albums. It has a nice, warm feel to it, not cold like so many other electronic albums that were being released at the time.

Hymne - This short track features quite a famous melody from Vangelis which has been rearranged several times for commercials and what-not. As the title suggests, the melody does have a hymn-like style to it. It's a short composition which repeats the melody a few times and becomes more dramatic and regal as it goes with orchestral-style percussion.

Rêve - A much longer track at over 12 minutes. It is more atmospheric, but also features a lovely, slow melody that is less reliant on a repeating theme that has a celestial feel to it. Vangelis utilizes the electric piano quite extensively here which gives it the bright and airy texture. The notes are sustained to give a semblance of infinity, or a slow passage of time with a nice, dreamy sound. There is a quiet, thumping feeling pushed far back in the mix and some nice, fluttering effects from the synths surrounding the main melody played by the electric piano. There is an occasional shot of jazz sensibility throughout and a marching beat comes in towards the end.

L'Enfant - At this point, the album moves back to a more melodic-based track were the theme is presented and then later developed as it continues. This is another fairly recognizable theme presented with the piano, with brass synth effects taking over as the music slowly intensifies.

Mouettes - Another short track that also works on the theme and variation style. Instead of the classical-based feel of the previous tracks, this one has a romantic-era feel to it. It's also quite ambient.

Chromatique - Less melodic and based on a chromatic line as the title suggests. An acoustic guitar is added to help support the descending melody and is used throughout. It's got an interesting feel, almost more cinematic and some really nice effects and synth textures, also harsh at times, so the guitar helps to warm it up a bit.

Irlande - Another theme and variation style piece. Again, the title hints at the style, which is definitely Celtic sounding and quite serene.

Flamants Roses - Another long track that approaches 12 minutes. The track actually goes through several styles, tempos and dynamics and it features a harp played by Jon Anderson, the only instrument on the album not played by Vangelis. The first section is fairly ambient, but it moves to a more dynamic section in the 2nd section where it builds with a nice crescendo and dramatic feel and percussion bringing it to a climax. The 3rd section utilizes some bluesy flourishes and such which makes it even more interesting.

There are many that consider this album one of his best, if not his best. For me, it's a pleasant listen, but I don't quite hold it in the high esteem as most as it is a bit too predictable in many places, the exceptions being the two longer tracks and "Chromatique". Some of the melodies are a bit overplayed, and that probably factors into the slightly lower rating for me. However, I feel it is good enough to be 4 stars because the best tracks take up the most time on the album, but it doesn't quite get the stellar review from me as "Heaven and Hell" and a few of Vangelis' other albums. Still pretty good, but not the masterpiece that others might claim it is, especially in a progressive sense.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I'm a little bit dissapointed to see that Opera Sauvage is such an underrated Vangelis album. Even if it is a documentary movie soundtrack ( another one from F. Rossif series) , the music from the album is unique in beauty and silence. Famous songs such as L'enfant and Hymne used to be open ... (read more)

Report this review (#1505730) | Posted by Sachis | Saturday, January 2, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Opera Sauvage is one of the strongest and most consistant collection of songs Vangelis had come up with at that point, and it's also one of his most pleasant listens. While China had found him leaning more on the beautiful aspects of the electronic prog albums of Albedo 0.39 and Spiral, Opera ... (read more)

Report this review (#604179) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Friday, January 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of Vangelis' moodiest album, with only the finale Flamants Roses to put some dynamism into the proceedings. As such, however, this track breaks the mood that has been consistent since the album begins. And for the most part, this track keeps the mood, there is just one section wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#288386) | Posted by Progosopher | Saturday, June 26, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This was Vangelis' second album of 1979, and was his third album to be released of music for the wildlife programs of Frederic Rossif. It is definitely the best of the three. The music is more varied, better executed, and the sound quality is certainly a lot better. This was partly due to the ... (read more)

Report this review (#160127) | Posted by UnearthlyChild | Tuesday, January 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very slow, peaceful and atmospheric, complex and richly textured, emotional, drifting, swirling - no sequencers, lots of Fender Rhodes, some eastern sounding harp and a small amount of sax - I listened to this (on and off) for 20 years and still never tire of it - easily one of his best alongside ... (read more)

Report this review (#40179) | Posted by | Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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