Céline Dion returns to Las Vegas for new show

Las Vegas has welcomed Céline Dion back with open arms and high expectations for her new, stripped down showcase that opens Tuesday.
Expectations are high for Céline Dion's new Las Vegas show Celine, which opens at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Tuesday. (Chris Carlson/Associated Press)

Las Vegas has welcomed Céline Dion back with open arms and high expectations for her new, stripped down showcase that opens Tuesday.

A departure from the spectacle of her previous show, A New Day — a Cirque du Soleil-inspired extravaganza that included dancers, acrobats and Dion flying in on a harness — the new, scaled-down production is simply titled Celine.

The Caesar's Palace show, Celine, will focus on the Quebec chanteuse singing her greatest hits as well as famous tunes by a range of artists, from Michael Jackson, to Ella Fitzgerald to Jacques Brel.

"It's so different, and it's so classy, and it's fun," Dion said of the show. "Different flavour. Different colours of music."

"This draws attention to her voice — which is better than ever, by the way. The audiences will see more Céline, and that's also what they want," Dion's husband and manager, René Angélil, told The Canadian Press.

Celine will feature the 42-year-old singer backed by a 31-piece band and is a contemporary interpretation of the headliner-focused shows of Frank Sinatra's era, according to organizers.

Montreal connection

Though a more traditional recital-type show, Celine will include modern visual effects, including contributions from Montreal media arts company Moment Factory, which has also worked with Cirque, the Canadian federal government and clients around the globe.

Moment Factory staff created the large imagery that appears alongside Dion as she performs.

"They were looking for visuals to work together with the artist to create this immersive environment," Johanna Marshall, a project manager with the Quebec firm, told CBC News.

"We're giving the audience Céline and this great content behind her."

Return to Caesar's

Celine is housed at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, which this week bore an outdoor sign reading "Céline is back!" For the new show, Dion will take to the stage 70 times a year for the next three years.

A New Day was seen at the same, 4,000-seat venue by nearly three million people and took in more than $400 million US during its five-year run.

Celine's debut has garnered much hype and sparked many hopes for a boost to Sin City. Since A New Day ended in 2007, Las Vegas has suffered a recession and struggled with unemployment and sluggish tourism.

The Las Vagas Weekly dubbed Dion's new show  "The Second Coming" and Newsweek described it as the city's "biggest act since Elvis."

"I am just a singer," Dion said in an interview on Saturday.

"I want people to come and not feel disappointed. That's my most important job," she added. "I personally don't think I have anything to do with the economy."

Since 2007, the award-winning singer took time off to be with her family, released two albums, embarked on a successful world tour and gave birth last year to twin boys, a brother to the couple's 10-year-old son. She is anticipating the release of a pair of new albums (one French and one English) by the end of 2012.

With files from The Associated Press