The term ‘La Boheme’ completely resonates with me, as it does with the French diva extraordinaire, Julia Migenes, in her riveting one woman operatic musical show, “La Vie en Rose,” now in its run at the Odyssey Theatre. Her repertoire includes popular all time faves, such as “Mon Homme,” by Maurice Yvain; “Milord” by Georges Moustaki, “Hier Encore,” by Charles Aznavour; “Avec Le Temps” and “Tu Ne Dis Jamais Rien” by Leo Ferre; “Les Paumes Du Petit Matin” and “La Chamson des Vieux Amants” by Francois Rauber and Jacques Brel; “Un Homme Et Une Femme” by Pierre Barouh; “La Valse des Lilas” and “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” by Michael Legrand, the signature nomme de plume “La Vie en Rose” and of course, “La Boheme” by Charles Aznavour. This song comes to represent the rather artistic, romantic tone in a bohemian Gypsy lifestyle. Julia Migenes, a Grammy award winning chartreuse/soprano had an excellent idea for a solo show and brought her dream to fruition in this excellent showcase of song, story, and theatrical musical memoir. She travels back to the Paris of her youth, singing a medley of love letters in song to the melodic masters, such as Edith Piaf, Aznavour, LeGrand, and Brel. Everything falls into place beautifully as she chants from her heart with a vocal range of opera to jazz. The show follows her true life chronological journey as a young girl in New York City, as a school girl filling in at the Metropolitan Opera house in “Madame Butterfly,” to her young adulthood in the cabarets of Vienna, to Berlin, Paris, and full circle to the Met as Carmen, opposite Placido Domingo. The audience is privileged, indeed, to get a full glimpse of her autobiographical journey, both personally and professionally, as we experience her shifts and growths in career through relocation, and ‘an end of innocence,’ as it were. The theatre space’s acoustics, as well as the magnificent accompaniment of pianist Victoria Kirsch, makes for a most romantic, nostalgic of evenings, taking us back to a more carefree,sentimental time on the streets of the ultimate city of lights. Amidst a cacophony of the outside world, inside this theatre, thanks to Migenes and Kirsch, we have only harmonious bliss. As her love life is stripped away from her (on more than one occasion), we live vicariously through her, as her songs evoke so much emotional pain and vulnerability. It seems she still lives and yearns for yesterday, not yet caught up to the present moment in time, almost as if the life of her youth stands frozen. When Europe no longer feels like home, she bravely journeys back to the states, with a courageous stance of moving forward, not recessing back. Just as we are excited to learn of Migenes’ own journey, she has always been mesmerized by the legendary, iconic Edith Piaf, and through her music, she was educated on life, love, and friendship. The two women seem to live parallel lives, as they share a unique bond as genius eccentrics who could only truly be understood by their heartfelt, poetic lyrics. Julia sings and belts her heart out with songs of a different caliber, stories of travels, musical interludes, and conditions of pure rapture. I perceive this vocalist/actress extraordinaire as a musical damsel with a parasol, yearning to break free of all barriers, to be seen, heard and understood. She is a formidable prodigy, bar none. When she sings, all inhibitions are set free.
Through Dec 14
2055 S. Sepulveda