When Christopher Lee made a Heavy Metal Opera about Charlemagne
Sir Christopher Lee is perhaps one of the most interesting men in the world. He was former WWII intelligence officer who worked with the SAS, master fencer, and legendary actor whose famous roles include Dracula, Count Dooku, Lord Saruman, and James Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga. Perhaps for someone like Lee, it is not unusual that in his late 80’s and early 90’s he would make a series of heavy metal albums, after all, he was a singer who had a background in opera and had worked with some metal bands in the past. But a heavy metal opera about the Medieval Frankish King and Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne?
In 2010 Lee released the album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross, a Symphonic Metal Opera based on the life of Charlemagne. The album included Lee himself, who played Charlemagne, as well as a number of guest singers and musicians who played roles such as Pepin the Short and Pope Hadrian. Lyrics were composed by Marie-Clarie Calvet while music was composed by Marco Sabiu. The album was released on March 15th, 2010. For his work on the album, Lee received the Spirit of Metal Award from the 2010 Metal Golden Hammer Gods Award, the award being presented by Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi.
In 2013 Christopher Lee released a sequel album called, Charlemagne: Omens of Death, which featured music arranged by Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner and Guatamalan guitar virtuoso Hedras Ramos.