Brave is the woman who undertakes to sing songs created by Edith Piaf. Racette not only sang them, but took ownership of them, and of her audience. "Milord" was given with a saucy lilt, transitioning into a fearlessly sensual "Padam." "La vie en rose" was sweet-toned, and unabashedly radiant. "The Man That Got Away" was paired with the deliciously tongue-in-cheek "To Keep my Love Alive." Racette and Terry next gave us an arrangement, devised by Terry, of "Come Rain Or Come Shine," with the piano part based on Bach's Prelude No. 1 in C Major. Racette sang with the radiant confidence and the shattering vulnerability of desire--of love--and I cried so hard I had to take my glasses off. Well, Gentle Readers, you already knew I was sentimental. Rodgers & Hart's lovely "Where or When" was next, followed by a medley of soul-crushing ballads. "I like singing sad songs!" said Racette, by way of introduction; as she pointed out, this is a distinct asset given an operatic repertoire which assigns her a variety of suicides "and death by that good old-fashioned soprano-killer, TB." With remarkable attention to text, she gave us an unflinching examination of hope lost and found in "You've Changed," "Guess Who I Saw Today," "Where Do You Start?" and Cole Porter's "So in Love." We were all still a little emotionally shell-shocked (well, I was, anyway) when Racette segued into her next offering: Piaf's "Mon Dieu." And she got it. And I was completely wrecked. (Did I mention that I love Edith Piaf?) Racette closed with Sondheim's "Not a Day Goes By." No, it's hardly an emotional restorative, but she had us in the palm of her hand and wanting more.
The album resulting from this week's sessions is available for pre-order here. Update 7/28: the album is now available for pre-order release. General (U.S.) release will be in January.