Theater Review: LA VIE EN ROSE (Julia Migenes at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles)

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by Barry Creyton on November 3, 2019

in Theater-Los Angeles


If you have even a modest love of French songs, or just the art of performance, of hearing and seeing a singer bring a lyric to vibrant life, do yourself a favor and go see this consummate artist in a sweet, masterful evening of Chanson.

Julia Migenes is one of those rare divas whose singing is superior, whose acting would pass the Stanislavsky test, and who looks like the part she’s playing. Her justly celebrated Carmen on film already proves these assertions — she sings, acts, and dances so supremely well in this, that any one of her triple threats would be worth the price of admission. The same could be said for her atonal Lulu in Berg’s titular opera (of which she gives us an amusing hint in this program), her Salome, danced with all the allure and precision of a prima ballerina, and so on and on through Puccini, musical comedy and multiple Grammy awards.

The voice has darker tones now than in her operatic days, and is consequently supremely suited to her choice of material for this program: the lovelorn streetwalker’s “Milord,” the wistful despair of Brel’s “Les Paumés du Petit Matin,”  the playful reminiscences of his “Chansons des Vielles Amants” – all are given to us in French, but Migenes’s body language offers a kind of universal translation which gives clear and elegant meaning to every phrase. A cry of ire, a crooned declaration of love, a whispered regret — all are illuminated by her total immersion in the character singing the song.

She’s accompanied reliably by Victoria H. Kirsch, who has her own moment in the spot with the theme from A Man and a Woman, and the whole is directed with deceptive simplicity by acclaimed film director (and ex husband) Peter Medak — a grand piano and two chairs supply all the props Migenes needs to convey the emotion of each song.

The lobby poster labels this Migenes’s “farewell series of concert performances.” Unlike Melba, perhaps she means it, so hurry to the Odyssey Theatre.

photos by Enci Box

La Vie en Rose
Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd in West L.A.
ends on December 14, 2019
REMOUNTS March 12 – April 11, 2020
Thurs & Sat at 8 (dark March 21);
Tues March 17 at 8
for tickets and dates, call 310.477.2055
or visit Odyssey

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