Jane Olivor is young, pretty, endowed with a good cabaret-style voice and intelligent in both her choice and her interpretation of songs.
She could be a headliner on another program, and she was warmly applauded last night at Wolf Trap. However, the act that followed was French singer Charles Aznavour, and by the end of the evening, when the audience offered a standing ovation, Olivor's warmup had been somewhat overshadowed.
Aznavour looks unpromising when he walks on stage - a small, wiry man in a red vest and black trousers who stands alone on the big stage.
But what unfolds is a cast of thousands; young lovers, rich and poor, disillusioned old men, a married couple celebrating their 20th anniversary. Sometimes when he dances, he can even give the illusion that someone is dancing with him. Each of his songs is not only a musical but a dramatic experience, and the range goes far beyond the callow love songs that are standard fare in American music.
Aznavour's art reflects the world in its variety: a dock worker yearning to sail off to a warm climate where povery won't hurt so much; a successful old artist revisiting the Bohemian scenes of his youth; a lonely old man, remembering his youth and concluding that "the time has come for me to pay for yesterday, when I was young." The illusion is total while he sings, and he enlarges the world of those who hear him.