Piaf! Le Spectacle: A French Fantasy


“Music is the universal language of mankind.”

Above is a quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and a quote that I found myself going back to several times throughout this magnificent performance. Piaf! Le Spectacle! highlights the music of Edith Piaf, a world-renowned French singer during the era of World War II. Though she sadly passed in 1963, her legacy lives on even today, as her music has been featured in films such as Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Inception (2010). In fact, had she not passed, she would have been 100 years of age in December 2015. This performance was established as a tribute to her musical legacy.

And what a tribute it was – where do I start? The caramel-smooth vocal work of Anne Carrere (as Edith Piaf) proved to be an obvious highlight, and the masterfully-assembled quartet (of accordion, double bass, percussion, and piano) added a final touch of France to every composition. The audience was invited to sing along in French during Piaf’s more well-known pieces; namely La Vie en rose and Non, je ne regrette rien. The performance itself did follow a loose storyline, from Piaf singing on the street, to the love of her life passing away in a plane crash. Because nearly the entire performance was in the French language, the story may have been a bit difficult to follow for some folks (I myself don’t know much French), but at these times, I went back to the previously-mentioned Longfellow quote.

Longfellow speaks the truth – music truly is the universal language of mankind. Edith Piaf’s musical life may be almost entirely in French, but the important parts are not the lyrics themselves. This, I think, is one of the key points that Le Spectacle touches upon – we may come from a foreign land, we may speak in different tongues, and yet everyone can understand music.

Edith Piaf’s story is universal through the power of music – if a happy point in her life is touched upon in a song, we know it, we feel it – it’s simply our human nature. Music is everywhere, and no matter what kind of background we come from, it resonates within our souls, and synchronizes humanity as one. Music is the language of global harmony, and Le Spectacle is sound evidence of this matter.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and would be very pleased to see Le Spectacle at the Zeiterion Theater some time in the future.

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