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Paulanne Simmons

Piaf Returns to Carnegie Hall

Piaf! The Show
Written and Directed by Gil Marsalla
Carnegie Hall
881 Seventh Ave.
Jan 6, 2017
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons Jan 6, 2017

Photo by G. Marsalla

In 1957 Edith Piaf gave her second and last concert at Carnegie Hall. The concert included "La vie en rose," "Padam Padam," and "L'Accordéoniste.” Sixty years later, on Jan. 6, Anne Carrere dazzled the audience at Carnegie Hall with her brilliant performance in Piaf! The Show. She sang many of those songs the audience longed to hear again.

Backed by a videoscape of Piaf, Paris and Parisians, Carrere took the audience on a musical journey tracing Piaf’s rise to prominence from a penniless street singer to an international icon. Carrere first appeared dressed in scrubby pants and sweater, and ended up in Piaf’s classic black dress, while her band (Philippe Villa on piano, Guy Giuliano on acordion, Laurent Sarrien on percussion and Daniel Fabricant on double bass) likewise upgraded dress ending up in elegant tuxedos.

Although Carrere occasionally interacted with members of the band, sharing a drink and a joke, most of the evening was devoted to song. She has a powerful, emotion-laden voice that is uncannily like Piaf’s. She’s also adept at reproducing Piaf’s Parisian pronunciation, making full use of all those sexy, throaty r’s.

The first half of the concert, composed primarily of lesser known songs that have not been much translated, was certainly appreciated, but was not as successful as the second half. Even Carrere’s magnificent voice could not completely overcome the language barrier.

However, the second half, with mostly Piaf’s signature songs, “Hymne à L’amour,” “La Vie en Rose,” “Non, Je ne Regrette Rien,” “Milord,” was a total triumph. With impish delight Carerre chose one man as her dance partner for “La Vie en Rose” and another to play the rich gentleman addressed in “Milord.”

Curiously, Carrere is at her very best when she is not Edith Piaf, but Anne Carrere. One is hard pressed to imagine Piaf as buoyant and carefree as this young lady.

At the end of the show Carrere, who has performed Piaf! The Show internality for the last year, tearfully told the audience that she was once a French girl from a little town singing in southern France. I’m still that same French girl, she said, “But look where I am now!”



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