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Madame - an ode to inspiring women

Madame - an ode to inspiring women

From Edith Piaf to Etta James, Sarah Vaughan to Grace Jones and Billie Holiday to Bjork, Belgian duo, Mich en Scène’s new show Madame, starring the luminous Micheline van Hautem, is both an odyssey and an ode to the women singers who have long inspired us.

Madame comes to the inaugural Christchurch Cabaret Festival (July 13-15) fresh from the Adelaide and Melbourne Cabaret Festivals where it captivated audiences in both states. Micheline, who has been described as “une interprete par excellence,” who “enacts existential dramas with passion and pain,” performs Madame in both French and English and with the same breathtaking energy and intensity she packed into the Songs of Jacques Brel, last year during the Christchurch Arts Festival’s Jazz and Cabaret season .

Madame draws on classic cabaret and has an extensive repertoire of songs from the women who have inspired Micheline and her equally extra-ordinary accompanist Frederik Caelen. “The full range of these women can be felt in the show,” Micheline says, “and it spans the full range of emotions from Dietrich’s cool style, to Piaf’s French passion, to Bjork’s playfulness.”

Each show remains fresh and spontaneous too, with set-lists drawn up by the duo only at the last moment, but with the irrepressible Micheline, neither the song nor its style is so important. As one reviewer stated upon learning that Micheline is not a native French speaker: “Language is no barrier to her: whether a song is in French, German or English, she communicates it with a livid sensual force that has the listener transfixed.”

Mich en Scene will be performing their new show Madame in the Christchurch Art Gallery foyer, at 8pm on Thursday July 13, Friday July 14 and Saturday July 15. Popular New Zealand performers French Toast, will perform at 6pm on the Thursday and Friday in the same venue, while Ali Harper will warm Christchurch’s winter hearts with her show Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal on the Saturday at 6pm.

Bookings for all shows: through Ticketek, either by the phone on 03 377 8899, online on or at ticket counters.


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