It’s a classical funeral for Johnny Hallyday

The opera soprano Julie Fuchs sang Ave Maria, accompanied by the pianist Yvan Cassar and the cellist Gautier Capuçon, at yesterday’s obsequies for the French rock star Johnny Hallyday.

They also played an arrangement of Edith Piaf’s torch-song  l’Hymne à l’amour and the Médiation from Massenet’s Thaïs.

A million people turned out on the streets of Paris.


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  • Like Piaf’s funeral, the French do take popular icons seriously, Maybe nothing equivalent elsewhere in Europe since Verdi

  • Chopin’s funeral was held in the same church in 1849. It was restaged 150 years later, in 1999, with the same music. I attended that one. The French do certain things incredibly well.

  • Actually, it was NOT a classical funeral, although there was some classical music. Nobody will remember the classical music or describe the funeral as classical. Everybody will remember the band of Johnny playing his music at several moments during the funeral liturgy , while the crowd in and outside the church was clapping rhythmically.

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