Aznavour, now 87, still making Montrealers swoon
Published Monday, April 9, 2012 8:42PM EDT
MONTREAL - Charles Aznavour might be 87-years-old but he's ready to unveil some brand new tunes alongside his timeworn classics at his upcoming shows at Place des Arts.
It's a bit of a homecoming for Aznavour, a Frenchman of Armenian heritage who has been coming to perform in Montreal since the 1940s, an era in Montreal which he recalls fondly.
"We were a little crazy, drinking a lot, smoking a lot, running a lot," said Aznavour.
The crooner has been named Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Quebec and even once considered relocating here.
He still loves the city and particularly appreciates Old Montreal.
"Now that I'm coming back, almost like a tourist, I go to see it," he said.
Aznavour's trips to Montreal haven't always been without controversy. In 1996 the singer was heckled during a concert by some fans unhappy that he chose to sing some of his songs in English.
Prime Minister Chretien later apologized to the singer for the response, leading nationalists to complain further.
His upcoming concerts are not expected to be lightning rods for language disputes, however.
He's planning on seducing loyal fans with old material plus, one-third new material.
"I'm very intimate with the fans," he said. "They're going to discover me a little more than before."
He'll be on stage with a five-piece band, something he's grown to appreciate more than the full-blown orchestra.
"If somebody changes his mind in the audience and asks something, if you have the big orchestra you can't do it."
Aznavour performs Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the Maison Symphonique de Montreal at Place des Arts.