“C’est Magnifique” was first performed in “Can Can”, Porter’s show about Paris set in the 1890s, a time remembered for artists, music, dance and most of all, love. The story concerns the lives, loves and pure zest for life of some of the more Bohemian citizens of Paris. “It’s All Right with Me”, (see my post of 10/29/2017) is another song from the same production, which is still sung today.
“Can Can” opened to mixed reviews with most of the plaudits going to the dances and the piquant personality of Gwen Verdon, one of the dancers, whose performance on opening night, according to all observers, “stopped the show totally”. Despite bad reviews by the critics, the public paid little attention and tickets quickly sold out for months in advance. Dr. Sigmund Spaeth, for many years a member of an intermission panel on the Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday matinee broadcasts, even wrote in praise of the score “Phonograph records have an embarrassing way of upsetting the dicta of drama and music critics”.
The show was something of a disappointment for Porter despite the fact that the public loved it. It was felt by some that he was disappointed the French government never acknowledged the way in which he had invested his gifts in praise of Paris.
“When love comes in And takes you for a spin, Oo-la, la, c’est magnifi-que. When, ev’ry night, Your loved one holds you tight, Oo-la, la la, c’est magnifi-que”
One of the most charming of the many versions of “C’est Magnifique” I could find is sung here by the irrepressible and silky smooth Dean Martin. I hope you will enjoy it.