CABARET Lilibelle was performed by two Croatians at Azure Restaurant in Nanping Sea Food Street for more than a week ending last night.
Ines Trickovic, a jazz singer, and Berislav Antica, a reputable pianist and saxophone professor, created the cabaret two years ago. In French, cabaret means a small show usually performed in a small room where the audience sits at tiny tables, and where stars and tyros alike face no restrictions on the types of music or genre or combinations thereof. Cabaret performers can experiment with avant-garde material never before presented, and can “personally” interact with the audience. It is a little theatre where the atmosphere is loose and old friends are pleased to converse with the performers, Ines explained.
Cabaret was popular in Europe with deep roots in France, Germany, Austria, Italy and even Shanghai from the 1920s to the ‘40s. Cabaret Lilibelle, with classical jazz from the ‘20s and ‘30s and with a little love story in between, staged a revival of the performance by combining famous songs of world-renowned authors such as Cole Porter and Ira and George Gershwin. They came up with the idea and, after a few months, made it a compact, she continued.
Berislav sat behind a red electronic grand piano in a corner of the restaurant while Ines stood beside him singing with slight movements. Wearing a long pearl necklace, red-lipped Ines fit the role with short black curly hair and a long red skirt. Playing the role of Lilibelle, she narrated the love story before singing each song.
Composed of two 45-minute parts, the mini concert tells of singer Lilibelle’s love for a man named Johnny. One day, Johnny suddenly disappears, and the girl travels around Europe, the Americas, and other places in search of him while singing songs of the countries. The story ends with Lilibelle still on a quest to find Johnny.
Ines started with a song titled Welcome to greet the audience. Her magnetic voice and delicate performance along with the easy-going jazz stirred memories of the golden jazz years and brought back the scenes in black ‘n white movies, dancing theatre, scarlet-lipped ladies in long evening gowns and elegant gentlemen with top hats and tailcoats.
After Welcome, came Night ‘n Day, I Got Rhythm and The Man That I Love. The second part consisted of Johnny, When Is Your Birthday? St Louis Blues, Let’s Misbehave, All of Me, I’m Maria and Life Like a Rose. The songs revealed the girl’s inner mind including happiness and sorrow as well as her yearning for love. Their performance garnered great applause.
It was their first visit to China and Zhuhai was chosen as their first destination, Ines explained. Further performances might be conducted in Macao.
The revived cabaret has a select audience in Croatia, which is part of the cabaret tradition, Berislav noted. Although Shanghai was world-famous for its jazz and cabarets in the 1930s – and still has cabarets along the Bund, the Zhuhai audience felt somewhat shy and astonished by the style of performance, he confessed.
-By Betty Lin, Zhuhai Daily