Gérard Souzay


Born: December 8, 1918; Angers, France   Died: August 17, 2004; Cap d'Antibes  
Gérard Souzay, whose real surname was Tisserand, studied philosophy in college although the family was musical (his sister was soprano Geneviève Touraine). He was a student at the Paris Conservatoire from 1940 to 1945, where he studied voice with Vanni Marcoux and Claire Croiza, but principally took master classes with the foremost French song recitalist of that period, Pierre Bernac (Poulenc's longtime companion), as well as Lotte Lehmann before Read more and after WWII. Souzay made his first recording the same year as his professional debut, 1944. After an official Paris debut in 1945, he participated in celebrations of Fauré's centenary in London. By then 27, he was the first of his generation after WWII to give song recitals internationally, preceding his younger colleague Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (b. 1925) by several years.

The French baritone made his U.S. debut in New York City's Town Hall in 1950, but did not sing opera until 1957, at Aix-en-Provence: Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. In 1960 Stokowski invited him to sing the title-role in Monteverdi's Orfeo with the New York City Center (later New York State) Opera. In 1962 he made his first appearance as Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande at Rome under Ernest Ansermet, then repeated the role with the Paris Opéra in a performance celebrating the centenary of Debussy's birth. Eventually he sang at the Met in 1965, as Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, followed that same year by Glyndebourne (although illness limited him to a single performance), as well as debuts with the Vienna Staatsoper and Munich Opera. Other roles included Gluck's Orfeo, Méphistophélès in Berlioz's Damnation of Faust, Pollux in Rameau's Castor et Pollux, Massenet's Garrido in La Navarraise and Lescaut in Manon, even Wolfram in Wagner's Tannhäuser.

However, recitals and orchestral concerts remained the principal focus of Souzay's long and distinguished career, which included annual recitals at the Salzburg Festival between 1959 and 1963. Proficient in 15 languages, he introduced Baroque music before the "original instrument" era -- especially music by Lully, Rameau, Handel, and Bach. He sang German as mellifluously and idiomatically as Fischer-Dieskau, his chief rival (whose intellectual word-stresses became increasingly intrusive), although Souzay's voice was lighter and smaller. His repertory embraced Russian, Spanish, Italian, even British songs. French chansons, withal, were his métier, beginning with Gounod, Fauré and their nineteenth century colleagues, but especially the Impressionist composers -- Duparc, Debussy, Ravel -- and the saucier Poulenc. Beginning in 1954, just as Poulenc partnered with Bernac until his death, Dalton Baldwin was Souzay's pianist, although not exclusively. They built an audience worldwide among audiences that had known only Italian or German opera. His presence onstage was elegantly handsome, and he sang with unforced, but nonetheless expressive, intense artistry that quietened even chronic coughers.

According to a comprehensive discography published in 1990 by Greenwood Press, he recorded over 750 titles on almost 50 labels -- 535 different catalog numbers -- ranging from 78-rpm discs to CD reissues, and was awarded France's Grand Pix du Disque three times. Apart from operas, however, he infrequently recorded with others, only recording duets with Germaine Lubin, Elly Ameling, and his sister Geneviève. In 1985, Souzay joined the music faculty at Indiana University in Bloomington, but also taught at the University of Texas in Austin starting in 1986, where Stephen Mims made a documentary film about him, Souzay: A Life in Art. In addition, indefatigably, he gave master classes at the Juilliard School in New York, and in Paris, Holland, England, and Japan, where he was a special favorite of audiences in German as well as French music. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 45 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Philips Classics: The Stereo Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002445602 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elly Ameling,  Dalton Baldwin,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard,  Eduard van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $129.99
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  • 2.
    Rameau: Castor Et Pollux
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 697308 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Norma Lerer,  Jeanette Scovotti,  Gérard Souzay,  Zeger Vandersteene  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Chamber Choir,  Vienna Concentus Musicus
    CD: $29.99
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  • 3.
    Most Wanted Recitals - Gerard Souzay - Melodies
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002178702 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  César Franck,  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Gérard Souzay,  Dalton Baldwin
    Conductor:  Edouard Lindenberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra
    CD: $12.99
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  • 4.
    Rameau - The Opera Collection
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 636487 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 27
    Composer:  Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Performer:  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,  Anna Maria Panzarella,  Mark Padmore,  Eirian James  ... 
    Conductor:  William Christie,  Jean-François Paillard,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Raymond Leppard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  A Coeur Joie Vocal Ensemble,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $96.99
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  • 5.
    Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op. 48
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002109502 Release Date: 08/05/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Dalton Baldwin,  Gérard Souzay
    CD: $12.99
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  • 6.
    Schumann: Liederkreis Op. 39
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002109602 Release Date: 08/05/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Dalton Baldwin,  Gérard Souzay,  Jacqueline Bonneau
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  • 7.
    Most Wanted Recitals -  Gerard Souzay - Handel, Rameau & Lully
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002065802 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Jean-Philippe Rameau,  Jean-Baptiste Lully,  Claudio Monteverdi  ... 
    Performer:  Gérard Souzay
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  Serge Baudo,  Robert Corman
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  • 8.
    English Accents: Oboe Players In England During The 1950s
    Label: Oboe Classics   Catalog: 2027 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederick Delius,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Winfield,  Sidney Sutcliffe,  Leonard Brain,  Edward Selwyn  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli,  Geraint Jones,  John Minchinton,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dennis Brain Wind Ensemble,  Collegium Musicum Londinii,  London Baroque Ensemble  ... 
    On sale! $21.98
    CD: $17.99
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  • 9.
    Ernest Ansermet - French Music
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4807898 Release Date: 11/12/2013   Number of Discs: 32
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Gugolz,  Marie-Luise de Montmollin,  Nancy Waugh,  Suzanne Danco  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Union Chorale de la Tour-de-Peilz,  Geneva Motet Choir  ... 
    CD: $109.99
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  • 10.
    Melodies Francaises Pour Bariton / Gerard Souzay
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1236 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Duparc,  Maurice Ravel,  Ernest Chausson,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Gérard Souzay,  Jacqueline Bonneau
    Conductor:  Eduoard Lindberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
    CD: $11.99
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  • 11.
    Poulenc: Complete Works [20-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 972165 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc
    Performer:  Gabriel Tacchino,  Jacques Février,  Emmanuel Strosser,  Xavier Phillips  ... 
    Conductor:  François Boulanger,  Georges Prêtre,  John Alldis,  Harry Christophers  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Garde Républicaine Soloists Ensemble,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Ambrosian Chorus  ... 
    CD: $63.99
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  • 12.
    Ravel Complete Edition [14-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728702 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  François-Joël Thiollier,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Ivo Pogorelich  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Charles Dutoit,  Ernest Ansermet,  John Eliot Gardiner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Nash Ensemble,  Melos String Quartet Stuttgart  ... 
    CD: $85.99
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  • 13.
    Massenet Edition [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001693202 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Régine Crespin,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Michèle Command,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord,  Richard Bonynge,  Julius Rudel,  Enrique Diemecke  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $79.98
    CD: $73.99
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  • 14.
    Schubert: Lieder on Record 1898-2012
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 27575 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Peter Schreier,  Steven Zehr,  Thomas Hampson,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
    On sale! $72.96
    CD: $58.99
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  • 15.
    Debussy - Le Compositeur Et Ses Interpretes
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 1215 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Claire Croiza,  George Reeves,  Ninon Vallin,  Gustav Cloëz  ... 
    Conductor:  Camille Chevillard,  Pierre Monteux,  Walther Straram,  Arturo Toscanini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Des Concerts Lamoureux,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre Des Concerts Straram  ... 
    CD: $37.49
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  • 16.
    The Debussy Edition [18-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001676372 Release Date: 05/01/2012   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Franklin Cohen,  Jean-Rodolphe Kars,  Vera Badings,  Krystian Zimerman  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Bernard Haitink,  Eduard van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $85.99
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  • 17.
    Gerard Souzay: Liederabend 1960 - Schubert, Martin, Ravel, Strauss
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93717 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Frank Martin,  Maurice Ravel,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Gérard Souzay,  Dalton Baldwin
    CD: $12.99
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  • 18.
    Schubert Lied-Edition Vol 9
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 40034 Release Date: 11/22/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Erna Berger,  Heinrich Schlusnus,  Kathleen Ferrier,  Isobel Baillie  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    Fauré: Lieder Vol 1 / Bernac, Bourdin, Guillamat, Martinelli, Et Al
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 40036 Release Date: 11/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  Berthe Montmart,  Ninon Vallin,  Georges Thill,  Gérard Souzay  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 20.
    Faure: Requiem; Strauss: 4 Last Songs  /  Ernest Ansermet, Teresa Stich-randall, Gerard Souzay
    Label: Cascavelle   Catalog: 3135 Release Date: 11/09/2010  
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Gérard Souzay,  Teresa Stich-Randall
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Union Chorale de la Tour-de-Peilz
    CD: $14.99
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  • 21.
    Gérard Souzay Vol 1 - Recordings 1944-1950
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10235 Release Date: 10/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Leguerney,  Charles Gounod,  Maurice Ravel,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Georges Viseur,  Gérard Souzay,  Irene Aïtoff,  Jacqueline Bonneau  ... 
    Conductor:  Edouard von Lindenberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 22.
    Gérard Souzay Vol 2 - Recordings 1948-1955
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10303 Release Date: 10/29/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Duparc,  Gabriel Fauré,  Daniel-Jean-Yves Lesur,  Hugo Wolf  ... 
    Performer:  Gérard Souzay,  Norman Franklin,  Jacqueline Bonneau
    Conductor:  Robert Comman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 23.
    Schubert, Schumann: Lieder / Gerard Souzay, Jacqueline Bonneau
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 440065 Release Date: 08/19/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Gérard Souzay,  Jacqueline Bonneau,  Dalton Baldwin
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    50 Best Opera
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 57531 Release Date: 06/29/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Gustave Charpentier  ... 
    Performer:  Cornelius Hauptmann,  Margareta Lilowa,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Ursula Kunz  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington,  Bernard Haitink,  Rafael Kubelik,  Peter Schneider  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 25.
    Firebirds In Paris - French & Belgian Singers In Russian Opera & Song
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 51008 Release Date: 06/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Anton Rubinstein  ... 
    Performer:  Germaine Cernay,  Gustav Cloëz,  Renée Doria,  Tasso Janopoulo  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Cloëz,  Florian Weiss,  Eugène Bigot,  Maurice Frigara  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra
    CD: $18.49
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