Attending a musical concert is usually an opportunity to hear familiar favorites or recognizable nostalgic pieces. Unlike listening to the same works on one’s stereo or CD player; the performing artist should contribute some reminiscence, trivia and background to introduce each piece. But most important is the addition of the entertainer’s individuality that makes an evening special. Michèle Tredger has a personality that almost outshines her full-range soprano voice, and both were on display at her Beth Jacob fundraising event.
She opened her recital with Gershwin’s “Summer-time” as an acknowledgment to the last gasp of another difficult winter. Her creative phrasing gave the work a novel interpretation and her follow-up ‘Too Good to be True’ illustrated enough self-confidence to take liberties with the tempi. ‘My funny Valentine’, the Rogers & Hart hit from ‘Babes in Arms’ was performed in tribute to flugelhorn icon Chet Baker’s particular rendering.
Tredger demonstrated her range and challenge extent with ‘The girl in 4B’ where the performer must vocally illustrate an operatic diva; jazz singer and other annoying neighbors. This work more than amply displayed her charm & character. She was especially detailed in offering an introductory history of the iconic Nat Cole hit– ‘Nature Boy’. Surprisingly, she omitted mentioning that the piece also achieved widespread acceptance after being the repeated theme in Losey’s ‘Boy with Green Hair’ movie that introduced Dean Stockwell to filmdom.
Two Stevie Wonder homages were part of the program as was works by KISS and the Sinatra & daughter duo, about ‘Spoiling it all [with 3 words!]”. Impeccable French was sung for ‘La Vie En Rose’ and enticed audience participation. A contemporary Israeli piece unknown to most of us localites was an interesting part of the offered selections. The Hawaiian-flavored ‘Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World. This was performed as a duo with her guest Adam Proulx who not only performed duets but also contributed his own well-received solo. Keyboardist Sydney London Pydney supplied backup as did guitarist (& B.J.’s Chazzan) Eyal Bitton.
Not all performers whose events we cover display warmth or temperament. Prominent musicians such as Denzel Sinclaire; Jann Arden and Rik Emmett come immediately to mind. But local tenor Emilio Fina or Vancouver soprano Karin Plato make one leave a hall feeling as though they’ve just made a new friend. Tredger certainly falls into the latter category.