Le Parisien


SUCCESS FOR PETULA'S GAMBLE

There wasn't a single empty seat for Petula Clark at the Olympia late yesterday afternoon. Nostalgia or not, it has to be said that Parisians had not seen her on this legendary stage since April 1965. "I was there and I remember the excitement that her performance created at the time" said Albert, a dashing man in his fifties who was very happy to see the English singer again.

In the interval, this lifelong fan was in seventh heaven. "She has a voice which is unbelievably powerful for a woman of her years, the tone is unimpaired. Obviously, what pleased me was to hear all the old hits like "Que fais-tu la, Petula?", "Chariot" and "C'est ma chanson"....And then I have found songs that hadn't been out before on her new album "Kaleidoscope".

This enthusiasm is totally consistent with the ovation which the singer received when she came on stage at 6p.m. on the dot in a shimmering gold dress: an audience of fans, of course, but also some with an interest arising from hearing her songs on Radio Nostalgie and whom the star was able to win over by confessing to huge nerves before going into "I'm not afraid", the story of how she overcame her natural shyness. Between each song, she told of her contacts with, in particular, Peter O'Toole, Fred Astaire and Charlie Chaplin, with whom she danced at his home in Geneva. In the wings, Petula's husband, Claude Wolff, was heartened: his wife had well and truly pulled off her gamble with the Olympia.

Caption: OLYMPIA, YESTERDAY. Thirty-eight years after leaving them, Petula Clark won Parisians back.

English translation by Peter Marren