The world of French songs was brought to the Metropolitan Room last night (December 6, 2016) by international singer Adrienne Haan, who is a dynamic artist above and beyond her frequent cabaret performances. Her “Cabaret Française” show demonstrated her vocal expertise befitting a concert stage, and indeed she has done such appearances in New York and on her international tours.
Haan, also an experienced actress, exudes sparkle in her ability to connect with an audience. On this occasion she made an especially elegant appearance in a red strapless gown and a hairdo that accented sophistication. As is her practice, she gave the audience tidbits about her background, including growing up in Germany, Luxembourg and France and influences on her life and career.
Beginning dramatically with a French medley, she moved on to interpreting works of composers, not necessarily French, but whose songs have thrived in France and internationally, such as works by Kurt Weil.
Two of her most dramatic numbers were by Jacques Brel—“Le Port D’Amsterdam” and “Ne Me Quitte Pas.” With the former, Haan injected vigor and power into the lyrics with a force that virtually shook the room. With "Ne Me Quitte Pas,” she evoked intense emotion with the lyrics dramatizing a lover’s poignant pleading.
No such program would be complete without homage to Édith Piaf, and Haan delivered a Piaf medley. Wisely, she made no attempt to imitate Piaf, but gave her own vibrant treatment to some of the most famous Piaf songs.
Haan likes to get audience involvement, whether she tours the room and sings romantically to a partiular guy, or gets an audience clapping or singing along, as with her rousing “Padam Padam,” about a melody that keeps on haunting, with music by Norbert Glanzberg and words by Henri Contet. Haan was accompanied by Richard Danley on piano and Mike Campenni on drums.
One suggestion that might help those in an audience who don’t know French would be brief introductory summaries by Haan in English of what songs say. Although that might interrupt the smooth flow of her vocal delivery, it would be useful if done compactly.
Haan is due back at the Metropolitan Room in the spring. Whatever her theme the next time around, audiences can be assured of pleasure. At the Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street. Phone: 212-206-0440. Reviewed December 7, 2016.