BWW Album Review: Christine Andreas' PIAF - NO REGRETS is a Gorgeous Celebration of France's Most Famous Singer
The Tony nominee Christine Andreas has released an album unlike anything else this year. Piaf - No Regrets celebrates the songs made famous by the French singer Edith Piaf, including "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," "Hymne a L'Amour," "L'Accordeoniste," and "La Vie En Rose."
Piaf - No Regrets started as a one woman show performed by Andreas at Feinstein's/54 Below and other cabaret venues, intended to celebrate Piaf's life and her musical triumphs. The classic "La Vie En Rose" had been a stable song at Andreas' other cabaret shows and performances for many years.
On the new album, Andreas sings in both French and English, sometimes switching in the middle of songs. Her French diction is impeccable and the style of her voice fits the language well, sounding rich and full, while still dancing over quick passages and runs beautifully.
Andreas sings incredibly expressively, perhaps more so than many modern singers today. She uses a full range of dynamics in almost every song, her voice rising and falling with the swells and builds of the orchestra that backs her. The expression in her voice is so great, that it is easy to both understand and feel the emotion of particular moments in songs without having any idea what the words are saying, which will most likely be the case for many listeners of the album.
While the album is a collection of Edith Piaf's most famous songs, the tracks do not feel like mere covers, but instead as new, independent interpretations of the songs. The album is well varied, with somber tunes like "Autumn Leaves," contrasting with the light and humorous "The Poor People of Paris." Most common on the album, are the big sweeping ballads like "Ne Me Quite Pas (If You Go Away," "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," and, of course, "Le Vie En Rose," which she pairs with the Cole Porter song, "I Love Paris," a combination that seems odd at first, but works thanks to the lush romanticism of both songs.
Christine Andreas received Tony Award nominations for her performances as Laurey in Oklahoma! in 1979 and Frankie Frayne in On Your Toes in 1983. She also originated the role of Marguerite St. Just in the original Broadway production of The Scarlet Pimpernel and appeared in a number of Broadway shows throughout her career. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and the Kennedy Center Jazz Festival and worked with the Boston Philharmonic, the Tulsa Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, and the Richmond Symphony among others. Piaf - No Regrets is her fourth solo studio album.