'Mermaid' sequel takes plunge in Monte Carlo

Underwater concert among Disney's premiere events

MONTE CARLO -- When Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment decided to launch its straight-to-DVD feature "The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning" in Monte Carlo, no one quite expected the minimalist dress attire. But on Wednesday, the audience will leave the diamonds at home and strip down to bathing suits for the splashy premiere, held at the Monte Carlo Bay Resort.

To plunge the international press into a deeply authentic mermaid experience, French composer Michel Redolfi, will stage an underwater concert in a heated pool lined with state-of-the-art speakers and a live solo percussionist in full scuba gear for the floating audience.

Redolfi, 56, who has been creating sound installations underwater in swimming pools and oceans around the world -- including La Jolla, Calif., Sydney and Cannes -- for more than two decades, admits that the underwater landscape is not as silent as you might think.

"Besides the calls of the large mammals, there are about 20,000 different sounds in the ocean. Many shrimp and fish rely on sound to move together in the deep. It's a noisy world, so intense in some oceans that it actually blocks man's electronic communications," he said.

On Thursday, listeners will be invited to try out the musical acoustics in the Mediterranean, both on the surface and, inevitably, under the sea.

Disney also has teamed with French marine explorer Maud Fontenoy, who will speak about her environmental protection programs, and American choreographer Cecilie Stuart, whose dance team worked in sync with the animation artists.