Finding good cheer on a lousy snowy night in Manhattan was not easy. And then along came exuberant international chanteuse Adrienne Haan and her “Cabaret Français 2” show, a sequel to her delightful previous venture into French chansons, to light up the Triad last night (March 7) for a large audience who braved the weather to hear this always remarkable performer. The minute she took the stage thoughts of what was going on outside were obliterated by the force of her personality and spirited singing.
The substantial audience would have been even larger had there not been cancellations by those from the suburbs who found getting into the city tough. But we New Yorkers don’t let the weather stop us.
The reward was great. Haan was a sight to behold as she turned up wearing black silk pants and a top that the French call a corsage, this one in gold, black and blue, which Haan noted afterward “is in the colors of Louis XIV, the Sun King.” Haan certainly has the figure for the bare-shoulder outfit.
Much of her repertoire this time around consisted of lesser known chansons, although she opened with well-known favorites--Edith Piaf’s “Padam Padam” “La vie en rose” and “L’accordéoniste.”
Haan, who has an impressive voice, loves to dramatize her numbers with elaborate expressions and gestures, even at one point dropping to her knees (shades of Al Jolson). She obviously feels the lyrics deeply, and she makes a point of linking songs to her family background, which includes ties to Luxembourg and Germany. She told how she was very close to her grandmother who loved French songs and profoundly influenced her.
Haan is fond of singing works by Jacques Brel, as in “La Chanson des vieux amants” and of Kurt Weill as in ”Je ne l’aime pas.” She also sang French Canadian pop-singer Isabelle Boulay’s beautiful “Nos rivières” and Charles Aznavour’s “La Bohème.”
She explored the songs of Patricia Kaas, French contemporary jazz-pop singer, including a medley of her work, and her “Kennedy Rose.” Haan also did a “Paris Medley” of songs by Walter Jurmann, an Austrian composer who, because he was Jewish, spent time in exile in Paris during the 1930s.
Haan enjoys chatting with her audience, as when she noted her interest in the assassination of President Kennedy and how when she visited Dallas, Texas, she made a point of seeing where the murder took place. She indicated that she had kept up with various theories about the shooting.
Ever effervescent, Haan has the knack of stimulating audience participation in some of her numbers, as she did with Edith Piaf’s “Milord,” her closing number. The arrangements for her program were excellent, and she paid tribute to pianist Richard Danley, noting that this was the 15th anniversary of her working with him as her musical director. At the Triad, 158 West 72nd Street. Phone: 212-362-2590. Reviewed March 8, 2018.