CANNES, France—One thousand choristers paid tribute to French Armenian performer and international icon Charles Aznavour with concerts on the French Riviera on August 9 and 10.
The choristers, known as “Les 1000 choristes,” accompanied by an orchestra and several soloists, performed more than two dozen Aznavour songs to an audience of thousands that filled the Palais des Victioires in Cannes during a two-day concert.
The repertoire included beloved classics such as La bohème, Emmenez-moi, Comme ils disent, Ave Maria, La mamma, Je voyage, Les bateaux sont partis, Pour faire une jam, Les comédiens, Sur ma vie, Je m’voyais déjà, Il faut savoir, Hier encore, and Mourir d’aimer.
The tribute to Aznavour also included two Armenian-themed songs: Ils sont tombés, dedicated to the Armenian Genocide and Pour toi Arménie, which Aznavour composed and performed alongside dozens of French stars after the Spitak Earthquake in Armenia in 1988. The choristers, clad in red, blue and orange scarves, performed the latter twice, forming a powerful visual that resembled the Armenian flag.
The soloists included French up and coming stars Jenifer and Michaël Gregorio. Jenifer’s performance of La bohème with the choristers was one of the highlights of the program. Before he performed “Comme ils dissent,” Gregorio, in turn, emphasized how Aznavour was way ahead of his time when he released in 1972 what is considered to be one of the most seminal songs about homosexuality ever written.
Aznavour passed away in October 2018 at the age of 94. In a rather moving tribute during a state funeral, French President Emmanuel Macron said, “In France, poets never die.” In May, a memorial plaque was placed on the building on Monsieur le Prince Street in the Latin Quarter of Paris where Aznavour grew up.
Aznavour composed and performed more than a thousand songs and sold 180 million records worldwide during his legendary career that spanned eight decades.