The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 9, 2013

Cabaret evening: Italian singer Clelia Cicero featured at Art Works

JOHNSTOWN — Come to the cabaret for an evening of entertainment.

“Paris on the Conemaugh” with Italian singer Clelia Cicero will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26 at Art Works in Johnstown, 413 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

Cicero, who is from Parma, Italy, will sing the music of Edith Piaf, accompanied on guitar by Neter Calafati, also from Parma.

Piaf is a French singer who became widely regarded as France’s national diva, as well as being one of France’s greatest international stars.

She was known for singing ballads of love, loss and sorrow from the 1930s to the 1960s.

The international evening is being made possible through Chuck Olson, a department head at St. Francis University in Loretto who also is a member of The Six, a band that performed at Art Works several weeks ago, said Theresa Gay Rohall, executive director.

 “He’s bringing her in and scheduling her in a number of locations, including St. Francis,” Rohall said. “She will have a limited engagement. He thought of us because he’s a big supporter of Art Works and what we do.”

The performance area of Art Works will be set up like a cabaret, and guests can bring a favorite bottle of wine and snacks.

Doors will open at 6:30, so guests can come early to get a good table, see the current exhibit and browse the gift shop.

“It will be an evening of art and entertainment,” Rohall said. “We’re looking forward to it. We don’t get this kind of performer often.”

Cicero was born in an atmosphere that nurtured her love of theatrical performance and singing.

She has performed throughout Italy and Belgium and is drawn to roles that feature strong, conflicted women.

This interest lead her to explore the life and work of Piaf, who was born Edith Giovanna Gassion.

She received her nickname and stage name, La Mome Piaf, meaning the Little Sparrow, because she was 4 feet 8 inches tall.

Cicero authored an entire performance examining Piaf’s conflicted and often tragic life through her powerful songs.

During the past 18 months, she has performed her “Premiere Etude sur Piaf” in Italy, Belgium, Argentina and the United States.

Last year, Cicero performed in France for the first time.

Her performance demands a talented guitarist because the design of the presentation is to use a guitar and a voice in order to emulate the music of the streets that was the birthplace for Piaf’s music.

Calafati’s virtuosity with the gipsy style or manouche swing method of Reinhardt dovetails beautifully with the music of Piaf as well as many jazz stylings.

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/RuthRiceTD.

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