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Jacques Brel Is Alive And Well And Living In Paris



"make no mistake, this show belongs to Natascia Diaz. Her piercing stare and commanding presence is mystifying (truly, I think the building could have been burning down around me during one of her songs and I would not have noticed). The sad, beautiful rendition of “Old Folks” was a particularly moving moment, as well as the solemn “My Childhood,” and the heartbreaking “Ne me quitte pas.” Natascia is able to enchant and move an audience in a way I’ve never quite seen before.”  (...full review


“Much of this is due to the uncanny excellence of Natascia Diaz. As one of the performers in the 2006 New York revival of Jacques Brel, Diaz was already experienced with the material in the show before becoming part of this production and we’re all the beneficiaries. Her head is so deeply into the Brel experience that even in English translation, she expresses the very essence of Jacques Brel’s Paris in mood, delivery, attitude, morality, and emotion. Brel’s tunes and lyrics can be playful. But more often they’re loaded with sorrow, poignancy, bitterness, and regret. Diaz deeply understands it all from simple joy to overwhelming misery. While she’s adapt at expressing any mood or nuance, her interpretative skills are at their most powerful, perhaps, in a song like “Ne me quitte pas” (“Don’t leave me”), a tragic ballad inspired by a romantic break-up. Sung in French, her heartbreaking performance really needs no translation. It’s an emotional high point of the show. And yet, its passion is surprisingly rivaled only a few songs later when Diaz returns to sing “Old Folks” in English, a song that, in exquisite, almost minute detail, offers incredibly sensitive insights into the end-of-life emotions of a couple entering what they know to be their twilight years. Only a cold heart, indeed, could fail to shed a few tears at the conclusion of Diaz’ wrenching yet understated interpretation. What’s perhaps most remarkable and notable in Diaz’ performance is the exquisite detail devoted to the phrasing and diction of each individual song. With regard to individual performances, we’ve already spoken highly of Natascia Diaz who, if there is any justice in the world, should be a top contender in one category or another for this season’s Helen Hayes Awards.”  (...full review)


"Jacques Brel’s ”Ne Me Quitte Pas,” usually translated in English as ”If You Go Away,” stands as one of the best songs ever written, holding up in every cover, whether by Nina Simone or Barbra Streisand, Sting or Shirley Bassey. Right now, Natascia Diaz, one of D.C. theater’s greatest performers, is polishing the standard at MetroStage in Alexandria, in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris."  (...full review)


"Then there's Natascia Diaz; she's the one that feels for us all, and who sounds a bit like Elly Stone, which should send a shiver up the spine of anyone who saw the original show."   (...full review)


"As the quartet of actor/singers perform the show's 28 numbers, there are moments when audiences will understand why Brel was such a hit originally. This is particularly true during the second act when Natascia Diaz powerfully delivers "Old Folks" and "My Death;" there is a simplicity at work in Diaz's performance that can both sadden and thrill." 


“But it’s Natascia Diaz who particularly inhabits the Brel edge. Diaz, a veteran of the 2006 off-Broadway revival, more or less keys this performance: She is an authoritative chanteuse, even when singing in French, as she does during Act II centerpiece, “Ne Me Quitte Pas.”   (...full review)

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