Mansfield presents portraits in song

Preview by Paul Nelson

ELIZABETH Mansfield brings her Portraits In Song (Edith Piaf and Bertolt Brecht) to the Drill Hall 1 on March 8 at 8.30pm. She will be accompanied by Russell Churney on piano.

Olivier Award nominee (1996, Best Actress in a Musical for Marie), Elizabeth Mansfield draws this seemingly improbable pairing of Piaf and Brecht together, connecting by contrast, in a full, dramatic evening interwoven with marvelous song.

Piaf engages the heart; Brecht engages the mind. His songs, like her's, are full of fantastic theatricality and drama. Unexpectedly, through the single voice of Mansfield, two powerfully different world views emerge.

Piaf is presented in her own words, taken from her autobiography and through her narrative songs. Her unusual, powerful voice, singing of love and loss, hope and romance, captured the hearts of millions, and Portraits In Song recaptures how extraordinary she became: Padam, Les Amants d'un Jour, Milord, La Belle Histoire d'Amour', Hymme a l'Amour, Je ne Regrette Rien, Comme Moi, La Vie en Rose.

Brecht's life overlapped the greater part of Edith Piaf's. He died in 1956, she in 1963. While she was singing of her own private passion and pain, he was writing to change the world. One of the great dramatists of the 20th century, he was also a great poet and songwriter.

His collaborations with major composers such as Dessau, Eisler and Weill produced some of the most outstanding songs of the century. Portraits in Song reminds us of his genius: Pirate Jenny, Barbarasong, Alabama Song, The Ballad of Marie A, Song of the Tough Nut, Bilbao Song, The Ballad of Marie Sanders, Mac the Knife, Surabaya Johnny, Cannon Song.

Future productions in this season at the Drill Hall include: MTL's brand new version of The Marriage of Figaro, (May 11 - June 8), Ernesto Tomasini in True or Falsetto The Secret History of the Castrati (April 3, 17), Barb Jungr's The Ballad of Norah's Ark (May 1, 10) and MTL's Cabaret and Screenings season (May 13 - June 8).

Portraits In Song (Edith Piaf and Bertolt Brecht), Translated by Steve Trafford, Performed by Elizabeth Mansfield, with Russell Churney, Presented by Ensemble Productions in association with The Drill Hall at The Drill Hall 1 on March 8 at 8.30pm. Tickets 020 7307 5060.

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