BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
BEVERLY HILLS–Famous French-Armenian chanteur Charles Aznavour–recently named "Entertainer of the Century" in a Time Magazine online poll–dazzled his audience Wednesday as he kicked off a four day Los Angeles engagement at the Wilshire Theatre.
The 74-year-old singer sang most of the songs which have made him famous and an international star. In a repertoire of English–French and two Spanish songs–Aznavour reminded the audience that the genre of the great song was not over.
The concert–which began at 8:30 and concluded at 10:30 [with a 15-minute intermission] was tailor-made for the Los Angeles audience. Songs such as "Yesterday–When I was Young,"La Mamma,"La Boheme,"Two Guitars–Deux Guitares," and the famed "They Fell–Ils Sont Tombe," highlighted the repertoire.
The evening wasn’t without its commentary on social issues. In performing his "Ils Sont Tombe–They Fell," a ballad about the Armenian Genocide–Aznavour told his audience that the song wasn’t an ode to all victims of injustice and genocide. He added–that he chose to emphasize "the Armenian Genocide–since it is not recognized by many and often denied by some."
For the Armenia’s in the audience–this was a moving moment–since the singer didn’t mince words in condemning the denial of the Armenian Genocide.
Aznavour was also being accompanied by his daughter on back up vocals and a local orchestra–which he called a "Franco-Armenian-American" orchestra.
The concert attested to the singer’s joie de vivre–and demonstrated that if one loves his art–his age does not really matter. At 74–Aznavour seemed as young as he was when he got his entertainment start following World War II–with such greats as Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier.
Since the devastating Armenian earthquake in 1988–Aznavour has been a great patron of humanitarian assistance to Armenia–and–on numerous occasions–has utilized his fame and art to raise much-needed funds for relief efforts in Armenia. After the earthquake–Aznavour rallied numeorus famous musical artists–includin Liza Minelli–to record the now famous For You Armenia’song–the proceeds of which went to the Earthquake Relief Fund for Armenia of the Armenian Relief Society Charles Aznavour will perform two nightly shows–tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Wilshire Theatre–8440 Wilshire Blvd.–Beverly Hills. For ticket information call (323) 480-3232