TORONTO — Céline Dion, currently on a break from her Las Vegas residency, has parted ways with her longtime musical director and three musicians.
“It seems that Céline Dion’s new administration don’t like the dedicated work I’ve done with Céline for over 28 years,” conductor Claude Lemay said Tuesday in a statement.
“It’s with emotion and disbelief that I accept the slam in the face I just received by being fired. I just want to thank René and Céline for 28 amazing years.”
Lemay was referring to Dion’s 73-year-old husband and former manager René Angélil.
Also not returning to accompany Dion are keyboardist Yves Frulla, guitarist André Coutu and violinist Jean-Sébastien Carré.
Carré, who has played for Dion since 2003, said on Facebook: “I’m totally contract free and ready for some new adventures!”
In a statement, Dion’s manager Aldo Giampaolo said the “very difficult decision” to get rid of the musicians was necessary “in order to breathe new life” into Dion’s show.
“Céline and René are thankful for their talent and love over the last years and wish them much success in their future projects.”
Dion, 46, announced last August she is putting her career on hold to care for Angélil, who battled throat cancer. The Quebec singer postponed her run at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and cancelled a scheduled tour of Asia.
“I want to devote every ounce of my strength and energy to my husband’s healing, and to do so, it’s important for me to dedicate this time to him and to our children,” she said at the time.
The singer has been married to Angélil since 1994 and the couple has three sons.
Dion, who performed at Caesars from 2003 to 2007 and again starting in 2011, had performances scheduled up to March 22.
Mariah Carey is scheduled to take over the venue for a number of shows between May and July and country stars Reba and Brooks & Dunn have a residency there from June to December.
Giampaolo said Tuesday that Dion will return to the Vegas stage.
“No actual date has yet been determined,” he said.