Patricia Racette, one of the premier American sopranos of her generation, makes her HTP Mainstage debut in an evening of Edith Piaf, accompanied by pianist Craig Terry. Piaf’s songs of love, loss, and sorrow made her the national chanteuse of France and one of the country’s most widely known and loved artists. Piaf’s singing style seemed to reflect the tragedies of her own difficult life on the streets of Paris — abandoned at birth, blind for four years of her childhood, and losing a child all before the age of 20. She eventually was discovered by a cabaret owner and quickly gained popularity, soon making her theatrical debut and singing in the large music halls of Paris. Her a dramatic style and expressive voice moved audiences with her passionate renditions of songs about loss and love.
A note from Patricia Racette:
Not everyone knows that my singing career germinated not with opera but rather my love of jazz and cabaret. My album Diva on Detour originated as a means to tell part of my story, one aspect which traces back to weekend jam sessions with jazzers in my native New Hampshire when I was only fifteen years old. Another piece of the puzzle unfolded when I rediscovered Piaf many years later and created a medley as a centerpiece on the album. Coming from one hundred percent French Canadian heritage myself, I find myself continually coming back to the songs of Piaf--not simply because of the French language but more because of the raw, visceral nature of her delivery-- the kind of drive that melded its way into all aspects of my own artistic identity over the years. Trying to emulate Piaf is not the goal--that has been done. This evening is my chance to put my voice on songs that create windows into the soul of her tragic and triumphant life. She was known to say:
"If I did not have the life that I did, I would not be able to sing the way I do."
— Patricia Racette
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