Celine event cancelled over negative press: husband
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2007 11:59AM EST
Celine Dion cancelled a concert in Halifax because local radio and newspaper reports continually insulted her, the singer's husband and manager Rene Angelil said Tuesday.
"When an artist comes to a place to entertain, the artist hopes people are happy," Angelil said by phone. "I couldn't understand that negative reaction."
He quoted a letter sent to the Halifax-based Daily News by a fan, upset at the press coverage.
"'This past week, I listened as call after call came into the local radio station that we didn't want Celine Dion to come to Halifax. What the hell is wrong with Haligonians?,'" he quoted.
He said that while there were some positive reports about the concert, which had been scheduled for the Halifax Common on Aug. 23, the majority of reporters slammed the event.
Angelil said he personally monitors his wife's worldwide media coverage every day, and named specific reporters and articles within the Halifax media.
"The first day (the concert) was announced, your journalist David Rodeniser on November 8, he wrote: 'Oh, no. Say it ain't so. Celine Dion is our big Concert on the Common news? What could be more of a letdown?'" Angelil quoted.
Rodeniser, a columnist for the Daily News, said he had actually defended the concert. His headline was: "Like her or not, it's good news."
He argued that the concert would bring money to the city and ended the column by writing: "Scoff because you don't like Dion. But don't complain that this isn't a great opportunity for Halifax."
Rodeniser said he was unfairly targeted by Angelil.
"'A successful Dion performance here will actually help build Halifax's reputation as a place for A-list artists,'" he quoted his own column as saying. "That's me. That's what I wrote."
Fred MacGillivray of Events Halifax said the cancelled concert probably cost the city millions of dollars in potential revenue.
"We missed the world's leading female artist of all time, who would have brought $7-8 million to our local economy and pleasure to 50,000 of our fans," he said. "And here we are -- we'll never have that concert."
But Angelil said he recognized his wife has thousands of fans in Atlantic Canada and said he's still open to her staging an Halifax concert.
He also told reporters that Dion has performed in the city four times, adding: "We love Halifax, we love the people there."
As to speculation that the concert was cancelled because of an engagement in Quebec scheduled for the previous day, Angelil said that "only an amateur would book an event that was not geographically feasible."
With a report by CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth