Friday's French music break this week is from a musical.
It's "Oser les larmes", sung by Carmen Maria Vega who plays the lead role in the show billed as "the musical spectacle of the new season" in the shape of "Mistinguett, Reine des années folles"
|Carmen Maria Vega (screenshot performing "Oser les larmes" RTL le Grand Studio, September, 2014)|
Now, don't groan, be misled or become all snooty at the idea of a musical - and a French one at that (yes they exist) because "Mistinguett" distinguishes itself by Vega's performance and voice for starters and the inspiration for the show, Jeanne Bourgeois.
She was a French actress and singer who began her career at cabaret venues in Paris before taking her show to across the Pond to become a Music Hall star in the States.
"Mistinguett" is produced by Albert Cohen, a man who has had a hand in some of the most popular musicals in France in recent years including "Les Dix Commandements", "Le Roi Soleil", "Mozart, l'opéra rock" and most recently "1789: Les Amants de la Bastille" - all of which were huge domestic successes.
So the man knows how to put "bums on seats".
The musical cleverly portrays part of Mistinguett's life - and that of the history of the Casino de Paris - in the "Golden Twenties", complete with singers, musicians, actors and dancers who, "tell the story of the creation of the first vaudeville show and one that Broadway."
The show hasn't left the critics indifferent. Benoît Tourné writing for Musical Avenue.fr questioned who would be the "core target audience" (the elderly who might still remember Mistinguett or the young unfamiliar with her) but admitted the show was "excellently crafted...seductive and not to be missed."
And Sophie Delassein in "l'Obs" said the show was "unlike any other musical" and one whose success lay "in combining new songs with those from the era in which the production is set."
The real star (and "find" if you like - at least to a wider public) though is 30-year-old Guatemalan-born Vega, whose performance is stunning: she really is Mistinguett, and reason enough for seeing the show as well as discovering some of the other work she has already done (visit her official site and check out her tribute album to Boris Vian for example).
"Mistinguett, Reine des années folles" opened at the Casino de Paris in September and will run until January before going on a nationwide tour.