The spirit of the legendary French Cabaret singer, Edit Piaf was beautifully channeled through during Saturday’s performance in Arcosanti’s Amphitheater. The concert marked the centennial celebration of Piaf’s life.

The evening began with a bit of indulgence as the crowd was served Organic salad nicoise with herbs, Pear brulee with maytag bleu cheese, trout with chervil and tarragon burre blanc, southwestern quiche, baby squashes in brown butter and for dessert… juicy apricots poached in sherry wine with freshly whipped cream!

[photo of the tour before dinner by Sue Kirsch, text by Hildemar Cruz]

Festivities really kicked off as soprano Eileen Mager and Helene Bergeon along side with pianist GayNell Cronin and Bergeon’s son Jacques on guitar, lulled audience members into a smokey exhilarated state with renditions of “L’Hymne a L’Amour”, “Milord,  and “Je ne regrette rien.”

[photo by Sue Kirsch]

The artist interpretation of Piaf’s songs really proved to be a personal, thoughtful and delightful evening under the High Dessert stars.

HELENE BERGEON, soprano, a resident of Arizona for over 20 years, Helene Bianca has a long musical career singing all times favorite French songs, including the “Piaf” repertoire, for French events across the valley. Raised in Versailles, France, Helen’s early education included music theory, piano, drama, and dance. Classically trained by Isolda Jones, she also specialized in Borque music, performing and producing several musical plays based on Antomio Vivaldi’s operas for the Arizona Vivaldi Festival.

[photo by Chihiro Saito]

EILEEN MAGER, soprano, Cleveland born concert / recording artist, actress, and director Eileen Mager made her debut as a recitalist in Chicago, and has been performing concerts in Arizona for many years. She has appeared as featured soloist with the Four Seasons Orchestra, the MusicaNova Orchestra, the Harp Consortium, and for Yavapai College’s performance of Mendlessohn’s E;okaj. as well as with many Valley choral groups and Valley churches. Ms. Mager has been the Artistic Director for several of the Arizona Vivaldi Festivals, and a featured performer in many of the Festival concerts [some at Arcosanti] and the American premiers of two of Vivaldi’s operas.

[photo by Chihiro Saito]

GAYNELL CRONIN, pianist, a Midwest native, GayNell Cronin received her Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of Illinois. While at the U of I, she studied with Ian Hobson. Since then she has held private piano studios in Champaign, IL; Seattle, WA; and currently in Scottsdale, AZ. Nelli is enthusiastic about collaborative music. Choral accompanying as well as joint musical ventures with a variety of instrumentalists and vocalists keeps her busy! Currently Nessi is serving as Interim Director of Music at Valley Presbyterian Church in Paradise Valley.

JAQUES BERGEON, guitarist and vocalist, raised in Arizona Jacques Bergeon moved a few years ago to Austin, Texas to pursue his passion for blues music. A guitar player and singer, this talented musician has performed on many famous stages of the Capital of the Blues. Recently Jacques has rediscovered the all times favorite songs of his French heritage and has included in his repertoire many songs by Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour and more.

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