Nana Mouskouri will perform at Place des Arts’ Maison Symphonique on Saturday, May  19 to support the release of her 135th album, Forever Young. As a student, she was training to be an opera singer. When the school administrators learned that she was singing in local clubs to support her studies, she was expelled from the conservatory for dabbling in popular music. In hindsight, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to the Greek-born singer, still performing in her 80s.

“I tried to retire, but I was very sad. My home is the stage, and I can still sing well. I’ll retire someday, but not for a while yet.”

Nana sings in several languages, having picked up the basics while watching films in the theatre where her father worked as a projectionist. “In those days, they didn’t dub the films; they were shown in whatever language they were made in. So I picked up the basics of French, German, Spanish and English.”

“When I was expelled from the conservatory, my career path was decided for me. The great opera star Maria Callas came to visit me in my dressing room between sets in a club where I was performing, and she said that it was better to be a really good singer of popular music than to have a less successful career in classical music. She encouraged me to sing some of our Greek folk songs, and the audiences reacted very favourably.”

As Nana’s career progressed, she worked with some noted composers and producers. Her recording of Michel Legrand’s Les Parapluies de Cherbourg is credited with launching her international career as a recording artist. She has produced recordings with Quincy Jones, a testament to the quality of her voice and song interpretations.

“This album is somewhat different for me, with songs like Hey Jude by the Beatles and Bob Dylan’s Forever Young. At one time I wanted to be like Tina Turner and sing with Rod Stewart – but that’s not who I am. I have to be sincere to myself.”

“Canada has been very good to me. At the beginning of my career, I was an opening act. When I first came to Canada, we started our tour in Vancouver and worked our way across the country. I’ve performed in Calgary, Saskatoon and Chicoutimi, Mont Joli and of course Montreal. When I returned to Europe all those years ago, I had built enough of a following to be the main attraction in Paris.”

Nana Mouskouri will be performing at Maison Symphonique at Place des Arts on Saturday, May 19. For tickets please call: 514-842-2112 or online:

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