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Meyerbeer On Record 1899-1913

Various
Release Date: 09/25/2009 
Label:  Marston   Catalog #: 53009  
Composer:  Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Emile-Frantz SardetBerthe Auguez de MontalantLéonce EscalaisPaul Aumonier,   ... 
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Great Meyerbeer singing on record.

Ward Marston’s rationale for this three CD set is to present at least one acoustically recorded example of every Meyerbeer aria and ensemble from his first three French operas; Robert le diable, Les Huguenots and La prophète. The priority was on French language recordings, though a number of German discs have made the cut as have a few Italian; this is where no French language examples were made or have been located.

The undertaking is divided into two. The first, larger, part is the selection of excerpts, many rare, many all but unknown, whilst the second - an appendix - contains well known recordings sung in French, German, Italian and Russian.
Read more As Marston is at pains to point out he alone has, as it were, picked the team. The recordings do not necessarily represent a ‘Best Of’ but they do contain a number of things that none but the most assiduous of specialist collectors will have heard. As such it fits into Marston’s catalogue very neatly indeed; a kind of specialised concept compilation that achieves operatic unity by virtue of its selection principles. In this respect the lack of orchestral and ballet music contained in the operas can easily be understood.

One of the virtues therefore of a 3 CD set such as this is the serendipitous juxtaposition of artists, the well-known on a familiar Victor, say, sitting next to an unfamiliar artist on an APGA or Odeon. How intriguing therefore to start with the little known and frankly a touch erratic Émile-Frantz Sardet in his 1909 side. He’s immediately followed by a marvellous example of Berthe Auguez de Montalant, as Alice, from the preceding year. She in turn prefaces the brilliant Léon Escalaïs who surmounts the divisions (of Handelian difficulty) of his aria with trumpeting high notes and still amazing accomplishment. This is a 1905 Fonotipia with piano accompaniment. The duets allow us to compare and contrast; in theirs from Act 3 of Robert le diable Jules Gautier is outclassed by Paul Aumonier but a more equal pairing immediately follows - Journet and Clément - and over two sides of their 1912 Victor they more than live up to their illustrious reputations.

I assume Juste Nivette is the splendidly self-announcing singer in the spoken introduction to his c.1908 Odeon - his speaking voice prefigures his singing one; sonorous, secure and characterful. Léonie Tanésy is an important singer but the sound quality of her c.1902 Pathé cylinder needs forbearance. Of other stellar singers in this first disc mention should certainly be made of Pol Plançon’s Nonnes qui reposez though Charlotte Agussol sounds past her best in her 1906 APGA. Lily Dupré didn’t record often so the example of her singing here is valuable. Despite her reputation Armida Parsi-Pettinella sounds effortful. Agustarello Affre’s vibrato is keen (if not insistent) and Lise Landouzy is preferable as an artist in their duet. We should also note the little known Mario Corpait and Georges Granal. The viola player in the latter’s Plus blanche seems to be anonymous.

The list of highlights really is an extensive one. Every track has something of value, sourced from collectors and presented to others less fortunate. From the second disc I would particularly note the way Marie Lafargue outclasses the rather generic singing of André Gresse in their scene from Les Huguenots. She died tragically young; a real loss. Mario Ancona, in Italian, is in redoubtable form and in superb sound for 1907 - an Edison two minute wax cylinder, which goes some way to explaining it. There’s an attractive Odeon-recorded sequence from Act 4 with Antoinette Laute-Brun and Affre - the latter sporting his characteristically intrusive vibrato. From Le Prophète we can enjoy a mini-German opening wherein Elise Elizza, Hermine Kittel and - separately - Leo Slezak star. Perhaps more important as an artefact is the 1908 Odeon that preserves the voice of Blanche Deschamps-Jehin, as Fidès. She was 51, and soon to retire, but she still sings impressively, even at the top, where one might expect strain. Albert Alvarez, with a wonkily recorded piano, is a vigorous presence in his 1903 Pathé. Marie Charbonnel is first class. Then there’s another German run including Ottilie Metzger, Erik Schmedes, Schumann-Heink and others.

The final disc continues the German lineage in the Meyerbeer discography. Michael Scott’s quip that Ernistine Schumann-Heink had a voice ‘like the Flying Scotsman coming out of a tunnel’ can be tested and found supported - or not - via these sides. Of more historical importance though is Amelia Talexis who died in a freakish accident very young. Her partner Gaston Dubois is rather bleaty but stylistically good. The appendix that follows is, as noted, a roll call of the great and good. Destinn has two sides to herself. Albert Vaguet is strong in Plus blanche, a Pathé cylinder of 1903 also notable for the fact that the violist is none other than Pierre Monteux, in what’s believed to be his only recording as an instrumentalist. This recording is immediately followed another of the same aria, sung by the incisive but interpretatively neutral Dmitri Smirnov (in Russian) from a decade later; his unnamed viola player is several notches above Monteux. The earliest cut in the set is here; the 1899 Bettini cylinder of Eugenia Mantelli singing Une dame noble et sage. So too is the still contentious Mapleson cylinder of 1902, in the past often ascribed to Melba, but these days generally, but not authoritatively, to Suzanne Adams. Prominent amongst the stellar voices in the Appendix is Jean-François Delmas whose two sides are first class examples of great Meyerbeer singing on record.

The next volume will explore the other French operas, L’étoile du nord, Le pardon de Ploërmel (Dinorah) and L’Africaine.

Need I add that the transfers are magnificent and the booklet wonderful?

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International 
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Robert le Diable: Jadis régnait en Normandie by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Emile-Frantz Sardet (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 06/11/1909 
2.
Robert le Diable: Va, dit-elle, va, mon enfant by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Berthe Auguez de Montalant (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1908 
3.
Robert le Diable: Au tournoi, chevaliers by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Léonce Escalais (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 12/01/1905 
4.
Robert le Diable: Ah! l'honnête homme! by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Paul Aumonier (Soprano), Jules Gautier (Tenor)
Written: 1831 
Date of Recording: 08/1904 
5.
Robert le Diable: Ah! l'honnête homme! by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Marcel Journet (Bass), Edmond Clément (Tenor)
Written: 1831 
Date of Recording: 01/18/1912 
6.
Robert le Diable: Encore un de gagné by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Juste Nivette (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: c1908 
7.
Robert le Diable: Oui, j’entends les éclats de leur joie infernale...Noirs démons by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Marcel Journet (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 01/19/1912 
8.
Robert le Diable: Quand je quittai la Normandie by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Léonie Tanésy (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: c1902 
9.
Robert le Diable: Des chevaliers de ma patrie by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Antonio Paoli (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 05/15/1909 
Language: Italian 
10.
Robert le Diable: Voici donc les débris...Nonnes, qui reposez by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Pol Plançon (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 08/1908 
11.
Robert le Diable: Robert, toi que j'aime by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Berthe Auguez de Montalant (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1908 
12.
Robert le Diable: Malheureux ou coupables by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Henri Dangès (Baritone), Gaston de Poumayrac (Tenor), Louis (Georges Noël) Nansen (Tenor),
Hyppolite Belhomme (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 1911 
13.
Les Huguenots: Sous le beau ciel de Touraine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Mario Corpait (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1909 
14.
Les Huguenots: Bonheur de la table by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Thomas Bonnemoy (Voice), Henri Sayetta (Voice), Bernard Boussagol (Voice),
Charles Millot (Voice)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1909 
15.
Les Huguenots: Plus blanche que la blanche hermine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Georges Granal (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/30/1909 
16.
Les Huguenots: Seigneur rampart et seul soutien by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Paul Aumonier (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1910 
17.
Les Huguenots: Piff paff! Pour les couvants c'est fini by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Marcel Journet (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/14/1910 
18.
Les Huguenots: Nobles seigneurs, salut! by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Charlotte Agussol (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; France 
Date of Recording: 1906 
19.
Les Huguenots: A ce mot tout s'anime by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Lily Dupré (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/20/1912 
20.
Les Huguenots: Non, non...Vous n'avez jamais, je gage by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Armida Parsi-Pettinella (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; France 
Date of Recording: 04/22/1906 
Language: Italian 
21.
Les Huguenots: Beauté divine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Agustarello Affre (Tenor), Lise Landouzy (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1907 
22.
Les Huguenots: Rataplan by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Emile-Frantz Sardet (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/14/1910 
23.
Les Huguenots: Rentrez, habitants de Paris by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Henri Weber (Voice)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1904 
24.
Les Huguenots: Ah! l'ingrat d'une offense mortelle by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  André Gresse (Bass), Marie Lafargue (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; France 
Date of Recording: 11/26/1912 
25.
Les Huguenots: En mon bon droit j'ai confiance by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  M. Bernard (Voice), Lucien Rigaux (Voice), Eugène Fréville (Voice),
Agustarello Affre (Tenor), Eugène Claudin (Voice), Henri Alexandre Lequien (Voice),
Armand Narçon (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1908 
26.
Les Huguenots: Noble dame by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Mario Ancona (Baritone)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1907 
Language: Italian 
27.
Les Huguenots: Des troubles renaissants by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Bernard Boussagol (Voice), Pierre d'Assy (Voice), Marthe Bakkers (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1908 
28.
Les Huguenots: Gloire, gloire au grand Dieu vengeur! by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Pierre d'Assy (Voice)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/02/1908 
29.
Les Huguenots: O ciel! Où courez-vous? by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Antoinette Laute-Brun (Soprano), Agustarello Affre (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; France 
Date of Recording: 1909 
30.
Les Huguenots: Tu l'as dit by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Antoinette Laute-Brun (Soprano), Agustarello Affre (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1909 
31.
Les Huguenots: Plus d'amour, plus d'ivresse by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Antoinette Laute-Brun (Soprano), Agustarello Affre (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1909 
32.
Les Huguenots: Savez-vous qu'en joignant vos mains by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Jean Vallier (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1907 
33.
Le Prophète: Un jour dans les flots de la Meuse by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Elise Elizza (Soprano), Hermine Kittel (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1905 
Language: German 
34.
Le Prophète: Sous les vastes arceaux d'un temple magnifique by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Leo Slezak (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/02/1910 
Language: German 
35.
Le Prophète: Pour Berthe, moi de soupire by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Agustarello Affre (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1906 
36.
Le Prophète: Ah, mon fils! by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Blanche Deschamps-Jehin (Voice)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1908 
37.
Le Prophète: Aussi nombreux que les étoiles by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Juste Nivette (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/1906 
38.
Le Prophète: Roi du ciel by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Albert Alvarez (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1903 
39.
Le Prophète: Donnez, donnez by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Melle Marie Charbonnel (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/29/1913 
40.
Le Prophète: Un pauvre pèlerin by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Margaret Matzenauer (Mezzo Soprano), Melanie Kurt (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/07/1910 
Language: German 
41.
Le Prophète: Dernier espoir, lueur dernière by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Ottilie Metzger (Alto), Melanie Kurt (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/20/1911 
Language: German 
42.
Le Prophète: Grand Dieu, exaucez ma prière by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Margarethe Ober (Mezzo Soprano)
Date of Recording: 1911 
Language: German 
43.
Le Prophète: Qui je suis…Je suis, hélas! by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Hermine Kittel (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1906 
Language: German 
44.
Le Prophète: Tu chérissais ce fils? by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Erik Schmedes (Tenor), Hermine Kittel (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1906 
Language: German 
45.
Le Prophète: O prêtres de Baal by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/26/1907 
46.
Le Prophète: Il va venir by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/26/1907 
47.
Le Prophète: Mon fils?...Je n’en ai plus by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Amelia Talexis (Soprano), Gaston Dubois (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: c1907 
48.
Le Prophète: A la voix de ta mère by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Amelia Talexis (Soprano), Gaston Dubois (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: c1907 
49.
Le Prophète: Versez! que tout respire by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Mario Gilion (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/15/1910 
Language: Italian 
50.
Robert le Diable: Va, dit-elle, va, mon enfant by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Emmy Destinn (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1908 
Language: German 
51.
Robert le Diable: Ah! l'honnête homme! by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Paul Payan (Bass), Edmond Tirmont (Tenor)
Written: 1831 
Date of Recording: 05/1912 
52.
Robert le Diable: Quand je quittai la Normandie by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Emmy Destinn (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1908 
Language: German 
53.
Robert le Diable: Robert, toi que j'aime by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Lilli Lehmann (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; France 
Date of Recording: 07/05/1907 
Language: German 
54.
Les Huguenots: Plus blanche que la blanche hermine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Albert Vaguet (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1903 
55.
Les Huguenots: Plus blanche que la blanche hermine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Dmitri Smirnov (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 10/15/1913 
Language: Russian 
56.
Les Huguenots: Pour les couvents c'est fini by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Pol Plançon (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 05/30/1902 
57.
Les Huguenots: Noble seigneur...Une dame noble et sage by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Eugénia Mantelli (Alto)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 1899 
58.
Les Huguenots: O beau pays de la Touraine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Margarete Siems (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1911 
Language: German 
59.
Les Huguenots: A ce mot tout s'anime by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Suzanne Adams (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/01/1902 
Venue:  Metropolitan Opera House, New York 
Notes: Attributed to Suzanne Adams as Marguerite de Valois. Previously thought to be sung by Nellie Melba. John Stratton’s article in Recorded Sound, July 1968 gives strong evidence for Suzanne Adams. 
60.
Les Huguenots: Beauté divine by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Hermann Jadlowker (Tenor), Frieda Hempel (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1911 
Language: German 
61.
Les Huguenots: Des troubles renaissants by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Jean-François Delmas (Bass)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1904 
62.
Les Huguenots: Dieu le veut by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Jean-François Delmas (Bass)
Date of Recording: 1907 
63.
Les Huguenots: Tu l'as dit by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Léonie Tanésy (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1836; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1902 
64.
Le Prophète: Ah, mon fils! by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Suzanne Brohly (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1908 
65.
Le Prophète: Roi du ciel by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Léonce Escalais (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849; Germany 
Date of Recording: 11/29/1905 

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