With her voice at times cracking and trembling, Celine Dion returned to the Las Vegas stage Tuesday night for her first performance since the death of her husband nearly six weeks ago.
“I did rehearse this song in my closet, and it went way better than that,” Dion said. She had just received a rousing standing ovation that followed her opening number, a rendition of Barbra Streisand’s “With One More Look at You.”
The emotional evening began with a three-minute video tribute to René Angélil, Dion’s husband and longtime manager, who died of cancer Jan.16 at the couple’s home in suburban Las Vegas.
The tribute ended with a quote from the international superstar, in which she said, “I realized that if he ever left me, I would have to continue without him, for him.”
Between songs, Dion spoke poignantly of the man who she had known since age 12.
“René is the only man I have known all my life,” she recalled. “We were one. And nothing has changed. We will always be one.”
“I think of him all the time,” she added. “I feel and know he hears me.”
The show then continued with Dion’s 1990 smash hit, “Where Does My Heart Beat Now.”
Tuesday’s performance was her 966th in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. With the announcement that Dion is adding 27 shows to her 2016 calendar, the Canadian singer will top the 1,000 mark before the end of the year.
Tickets for the added shows go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday.
The first 20 minutes of Tuesday’s return were streamed live via Dion’s website, where a recording of the performance was posted on Wednesday.