Melanie Gall is a committed fringer (Sisterscene)
I love the reaction I get. People sing along, people wave their hands during the songs. People come up and tell me these stories and I just think it's fascinating.
—Melanie Gall, singer
You might think Melanie Gall has a thing for mice, because her two Fringe shows both feature a mouse character. Turns out, it's just a coincidence.
In the case of Opera Mouse, her kids show, a mouse puppet introduces the world of opera to the younger set. In The Sparrow and the Mouse: Creating the Music of Edith Piaf, the mouse is the younger half-sister of the great French chanteuse, Edith Piaf, who was known as the Little Sparrow.
Edith Piaf is remembered for her timeless renditions of "La Vie en rose," "Non, je ne regrette rien" and "Hymne à l'amour." Her tragic life story, from singing on the streets, to being discovered by a nightclub owner, to international stardom, to her untimely death at the age of 47, made her a compelling figure.
The Sparrow and the Mouse tells the story of Piaf through the eyes of her little-known half-sister, Simone. At the end of her life, Simone wrote a tell-all book about her life with Edith and claimed she co-wrote some of the songs that Edith sang.
"So much of Piaf's life is legend," says Gall. So we'll never know for sure if it's true.
"Everyone seems to have a Piaf story," says Gall. "Her songs are so widely played that they - by default - become the soundtrack to people's lives. In the second World War and after, her music was everywhere.
"It also encompasses the romantic ideal of Paris," she continues. "When people think of love, they think of Paris and when they think of Paris the think of Piaf. It's not hard to evoke Paris. All you need pretty much is a beret and an accordion and Edith Piaf music."
For Gall, this is a chance to sing music she really loves. "And I love the reaction I get. People sing along, people wave their hands during the songs. People come up and tell me these stories and I just think it's fascinating."
Gall performs virtually non-stop. She's a classical singer during the year, touring Canada, the States and Europe, often singing with different opera companies. Then when summer comes around, she's a seriously committed fringer. Last year she also presented two show at the Winnipeg Fringe.
"This is my vacation," she says. "People are just so supportive of each other at the Fringe. In the world of classical music it is much less so. This is my reward for the rest of the year.
"It's fun, I love fringing," she laughs. "I'm going to be doing 16 shows in a week in Winnipeg, it's going to be crazy!"
Melanie Gall performs The Sparrow and the Mouse: Creating the Music of Edith Piaf at Venue 10 and Opera Mouse at the Kids Venue.