The summer approaches and as the evenings stay lighter for longer, so the theatres, operas and concert venues go dark.
So, as the Paris 'season' draws to a close, I thought I'd give you some of my highlights and lowlights of the year....
Highlights would have to include the excellent production of Talking Heads by Alan Bennett at the Theatre du Rond Point des Champs Elysées. Great writing, well translated and then perfectly staged and acted. Shame that the subtle Englishness of some of the comedy was lost on the French audience - how many French people really picked up on the fact that a woman moving from Roundhay to Harrogate really does have 'ideas above her station'....?
Equally great, but surprisingly so was the Tings Tings at the Bataclan. A small venue and a group with an equally small repertoire. I was expecting a car crash and I got 45 minutes of pure pop excellence - highly charged performance that energised the audience and got everyone dancing (which doesn't happen all that often at French gigs).
The other expected car crash that turned out to be brilliant was this week's concert by Marianne Faithfull. She hasn't got the best voice in the world, was singing off sheets (such is her lack of memory) and she seemed a bit drunk, but boy did she rock. Amazing performance. I cried during the Ballad of Lucy Jordan. An experience I'll remember for a long long time.
Amongst the other female performers who rocked my scene this year have been the fantastic Aimee Mann (sublime) and the newcomer Little Boots - a good set and a great performer.
The modern dance evening at the Palais Garnier was also sublime, with an incredibly disturbing final piece that the French found funny.
Disappointment has come in the shape of performers and performances that should have been brilliant.
Rufus Wainwright - my future husband - really didn't cut it earlier this week at the Cité de la Musique. He was alone with his piano and chose a maudling selection of songs, occasionally brightened up by a couple of his oldest numbers. He seemed unprepared and the setlist seemed like it had been thrown together at the last minute. For a big Rufus fan like myself it was really sad.
Equally sad was Morissey deciding to cancel his Paris gig. He's threatening a return in November though, so we'll have to wait and see how that turns out.
And finally, Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands ballet at the Theatre du Chatelêt should have been excellent. I saw the original staging at Sadlers Wells and it was fabulous in a weird, dark, fantastic kind of way. The Paris show was just not right. Something about it was lacking. It just didn't do it for me.
Other concerts included Fleet Foxes, who would have been great if they'd only sung one or two songs, the Killers who absolutely blew me away, and a great presentation by Semyon Bychkow of Rchard Strauss and Shostakovich at the Opera Bastille. The Shostakovich - symphony 7, 'Leningrad' - was truly spectacular.
Chosing the event of the year would be difficult. I really would struggle to pick one from all of them, so here's the top three:
- Aimee Mann
- Marianne Faithfull
....hmm, I want to add Tings Tings to the top three as well.
All rocked. All were amazing, and I left all four of these concerts feeling buoyed, moved and ready to take on the world.
Surely that's what music is all about?