Discover the sensational rags to riches story of Edith Piaf at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre on Feb. 20. as Atlantic Ballet unfolds her inspiring tale through classical dance and her iconic music in their original ballet Piaf.
Inimitable French singer Edith Piaf’s life was mired in mystery and tragedy. Abandoned by her mother at birth, Piaf was brought up in a brothel, earning money as an acrobatic performer on the streets of Paris. Standing just 4 foot 8 inches, Piaf would rise above it all, leaving a grand impression in France and later the world. Her hauntingly bittersweet songs would see her flourish to international fame as La Môme Piaf (The Little Sparrow).
Atlantic Ballet’s artistic director Igor Dobrovolskiy found inspiration in La Môme Piaf’s life.
“I wanted audiences to be touched by her story and her songs,” said Dobrovolskiy, “for them to have the same reaction I had to the music when I was a 10-year-old boy hearing them for the first time.”
Extraordinary songs including Non, je ne regrette rien, La Vie en rose, Hymne à l’amour, La Foule, among other well-loved ballads, set the backdrop for this original ballet performed by a company of 10 exceptional dancers.
“Her songs leave a sad and warm feeling of love and pride with anyone who hears them, all who discover Edith are touched by her song and story,” said Dobrovolskiy, who founded Atlantic Ballet 13 years ago.
Selecting music to go alongside Piaf’s masterpieces was one of Dobrovolskiy’s greatest challenges. Selections from Beethoven, Fauré, Romanov and others complement Piaf’s music without overshadowing.
“I wanted to select music that would blend with her songs and make the story tell itself to the audience,” he said. “Everyone is touched by Edith…Once you have heard her songs, her story, you will never forget.”
Atlantic Ballet premiered Piaf in May 2014 in Fredricton, N. B. Choreographed by Dobrovolskiy, the production also features lighting design by Pierre Lavoie, set design by Shawn Donellsen and video design by Ghislain Ouelette.
Fresh off their 2014 tour which included stops in Europe and the United States, Atlantic Ballet is touring British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec to share this memorable story of love, hardship and beauty.
“The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society thanks our sponsors for their generous support: The Village Green Hotel, Okanagan Spirits, Silver Star Mountain Resort, The Morning Star, the Okanagan Advertiser, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the British Columbia Arts Council and the Regional District of the North Okanagan,” said Brian Van Wensem, audience development for the VDPAC.
Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada’s performance of Piaf is Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults, $42 for seniors and $40 for students. Call the Ticket Seller box office at 250-549-SHOW (7469) or visit www.ticketseller.ca. Discounts are available for members of the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society.