|Edith Piaf musical starring Naomi Emmerson
Spring is the season for l’amour! Birds, bees, flowers springing awake, and songs of love! Time to see life through rose colored glasses. Perhaps take your sweetheart on a romantic get-away! Search “most romantic cities” and Paris shows up on most lists. Most romantic songs from Paris? “La vie en rose” by Edith Piaf ranks right up there. No surprise, Piaf lived for love. “Without love there is no life,” actress Naomi Emmerson says in the musical drama Piaf: love Conquers All in which she portrays the French chanteuse. “She was an artist infamous for her love affairs earning front page news in the tabloids of her time.” Emmerson who has played this role over 200 times around the globe reflects that Piaf’s main purpose in life was to find that one “great love.” This does indeed seem to be reflected in some of her songs, but more of her songs, and the passion with which she sang them, are fueled by the pain and suffering of failed love. Piaf’s self-professed great love was found in 1948 in world boxing champion, Marcel Cerdan. Although the affair lasted only 18 months, their now published love letters, reflect the deep admiration and devotion they had regardless of Marcel being a married man with three kids. “I worshiped him like a God,” she states in her 1963 memoires My Life. “He changed my life.” But, Piaf, as she has said herself, was not destined to stay happy. This apocryphal love affair was cut short tragically when Cerdan’s plane went down in the Azores, leaving Piaf ruined. On the eve of the death announcement, Piaf honored her performance commitment at one of New York’s top music halls, The Versailles, much to the chagrin of her entourage. Her great love for Marcel had been inspiration for another of Piaf’s well known compositions, “Hymne à l’amour”. The song had been removed from the program that fateful night, but at the last moment she insisted on singing it declaring to her audience and to her anxious orchestra “…in memory of Marcel Cerdan. I sing only for him”. She never made it to the end of the song. She reportedly collapsed with grief. The curtain fell, not only on her performance, but on any future happiness and good health. Her long struggle with alcohol and drug addiction began. “You always drink to forget your failures…your suffering,” she says in her autobiography. When great artists suffer the pain caused by lost love, magic is born. We thank them for their love sacrifice, for through it we are given beautiful gifts of music. A Piaf et Marcel - Merci!
Naomi Emmerson star of Piaf Love Conquers All - the one woman musical about legendary French singer Edith Piaf. She has performed over 200 times for audiences across Canada and the USA and once in Indonesia. The set and costumes are also her creation. Naomi grew up in Montreal Quebec in an anglophone family. She went to French school from 2nd to 6th grade. She loves brie, baguettes and makes a mean crepe Nelson (apple,bacon,sharp cheddar and maple syrup)