BWW Interviews: Louise Pitre talks La Vie En Rouge
Louise Pitre's La Vie En Rouge promises to be a very special evening, in which Canada's award-winning chansonniere will heat up Toronto with an evening of songs in both French and English that will be recorded live for her next album. The song list includes "La Vie En Rose," "The Man That Got Away" and a special version of "I Dreamed a Dream" which she performs in both languages. Louise took a few minutes to speak to BWW about what people can expect from her concert, as well as why she chose now to perform in Toronto and what she hopes to do next:
Your "La Vie En Rouge" concert is being recorded live. How did that come to fruition?
Well, I've been doing a lot of concerts over the last few years throughout the United States and Canada. When I do this concert which has some English but is mostly in French I was noticing that people seemed very interested in having a French recording. People often ask me if I have a Piaf recording as well - so I decided it was time to make something to give to those people who want more of the French side of things.
This venture is two-fold as we have already gone into the studio and recorded all the French songs, and I hope to have that album available by the time we do this show. Then the concert will be recorded on audio and video. That way the video will have both the French and English songs, but also the dialogue in between the numbers. It'll be a true "live" recording.
Is the plan to then release the recording on CD and DVD?
I'm not exactly sure about the video to be honest. What I would really love would be if we could air it somewhere - similar to the concerts that you see on Bravo and CBC or something like that.
So you will obviously be performing songs from Piaf at the concert, what else is on the program?
A few English songs because I don't think I can sing in French non-stop when there are Anglophones in the audience - they will need a break! We will have the Piaf songs, a Brel song, but also I'm doing "Some People" from Gypsy and "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables which I will do in both languages. There is going to be a song from Wonderful Town and a few old Judy Garland songs as well. It really is a mish-mash and I make sure that I talk a lot in between songs and explain what the French songs are all about so that people have an idea what I'm singing about when I take off in French.
You also sang a song from Gypsy at the Theatre 20 concert "The Story Begins" in May - is that a role you hope to play someday?
Oh my god yes! Of course! It's the best. It just doesn't get any better than that as far as I'm concerned. That show IS musical theatre to me, it's as good as it gets.
Are there any other roles you really hope to tackle?
I would love to do a production of Mame, that show never gets done which I think is really sad. I like the old stuff obviously. But I would also love the chance to be in a new Leslie Arden musical. She's the best Canadian composer out there right now, she's wonderful and her lyrics are as good as her music which is rare.
You recently did a workshop of the Canadian version of Les Belles Soeurs , how did that go?
Well, we did the workshop and a reading and now the creative team has taken it away and are working on it. They need a new translation so it'll be awhile before we can tackle it again. I'm sure it will be great and I look forward to doing it. That is a very hard thing to translate because the French Canadian "joie" doesn't have an exact English translation. It is something that truly needs to be re-worked but I think that is exciting and it could be really great.
What comes next for you after La Vie En Rouge?
I have some concerts coming up in the New Year in the States, the Maritimes and BC. But I'm hoping to have some time to myself this summer as well. We just moved back to our farmhouse and I can't tell you how good it is for my soul to be here. Gardening, cooking, maybe even have friends over again? *laughs* But I'm also working on putting together another concert - one that focuses on the British women of the 60s. It'll be totally different and more pop than anything I've done, but they are wonderful songs. I think it'll be a great show.
For La Vie En Rouge, what would you say to encourage the younger crowd who might not be as familiar with you or this material to come and see you perform?
I think it is great for people who don't know the material because it can be an introduction to this whole other world of incredible, passionate and heartfelt music. And because I talk so much I hope they will get some humour out of it as well. It isn't going to be a boring night of straight singing - it's interactive and funny and personable. This is the type of show you do if you want people to get to know you in just one evening on stage.
Also, my trio who is accompanying me are amazing and I'm so thrilled to have them with me. Pianist is Diane Leah. Bass player is George Koller. Drummer is Tom Jestadt.
It'll be great because I never do concerts in Toronto, I do them all over the place but not here. So I get to bring it home and it is a rare opportunity for me to do a lot of French, which is really who I am and a big part of me. I'm very excited to share that with the city of Toronto.
When and Where?
Louise Pitre's La Vie En Rouge
Wednesday June 1 at 8PM
Jane Mallett Theatre, St Lawrence Centre for the Arts
Tickets range from $60 to $75 and can be purchased by phone at 416.366.7723 or 1.800.708.6754 or online at www.stlc.com
For more information please visit www.louisepitre.com