Episode 136. Puccini en Français

Episode 136. Puccini en Français

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This week’s episode is a counterpart to my ongoing exploration of the practice of performing opera in translation which includes the “Verdi auf Deutsch” [www.countermelodypodcast.com/index.php/2021/10/17/episode-111-verdi-auf-deutsch] and “Polyglot Wagner” [www.countermelodypodcast.com/index.php/2020/11/29/episode-63-polyglot-wagner] episodes. With its soaring cantilena lines, Puccini’s music lends itself quite naturally to performance in French. The characteristics of the so-called “French school” of singing, with its frequent focus on bright-timbred, slightly nasal tonal production, lends Puccini’s music a peculiarly French quality when performed in that language. This episode features arias and duets from Madame Butterfly, La Vie de Bohème, and La Tosca, as they are known in French, supplemented by arias from Manon Lescaut and Turandot. These are sung by some of the most famous singers of the twentieth century (including Ninon Vallin, Georges Thill, Régine Crespin, Germaine Lubin, Gabriel Bacquier, Alain Vanzo, and Lily Pons) with contributions by equally impressive but less celebrated French, Corsican, and Belgian artists (including Yvonne Brothier, Berthe Monmart, César Vezzani, José Liccioni, Marthe Nespoulous, Paul Finel, Michèle Le Bris, Martha Angelici, Germaine Martinelli, Jane Rhodes, Georges Jouatte, and the long-lived Géori-Boué [1918-2017], Renée Doria [1921-2021], Suzanne Sarroca [b. 1927], and Robert Massard [b. 1925]). Also heard are foreign singers whose singing nevertheless defines the French method (the Australian Albert Lance, the Canadian Raoul Jobin, the US-American Arthur Endrèze, and the Ukrainian Joseph Rogatchewsky). This episode is a foretaste of a mini-series coming in May on great French lyric artists, including Mady Mesplé, Martial Singher, and Gabriel Bacquier.

RECORDINGS HEARD IN THIS EPISODE

All music today is by Giacomo Puccini.

D’art et d’amour [Vissi d’arte] (Tosca). Germaine Martinelli [1930]

Ne pleure plus, Liù [Non piangere, Liù] (Turandot). Georges Thill, Orchestra conducted by Georges Truc [1928]

Ange, sirène ou femme [Donna non vidi mai] (Manon Lescaut). Georges Jouatte, Orchestra conducted by Gustave Cloëz [1930]

Ah, ne m’approchez pas [Guardate, pazzo son] (Manon Lescaut). César Vezzani [1924]

Ça ne vient guère [Non sono in vena] (La bohème). Lily Pons, Enrico di Mazzei, Orchestra conducted by Gustave Cloëz [1928]

Que cette main est froide [Che gelida manina] (La bohème). Georges Thill, Orchestra conducted by Eugène Bigot [1930]

On m’appelle Mimi [Mi chiamano Mimì] (La bohème). Ninon Vallin [1928]

Ô douce jeune fille [O soave fanciulla) (La bohème). Alain Vanzo, Renée Doria, Orchestra conducted by Erasmo Ghiglia [1960]

D’un pas léger [Quando m’en vo] (La bohème) Yvonne Brothier, Georges Lauweryns, Orchestre de l’Opéra-Comique [1928]

La chambre qu’autrefois j’avais quittée [Donde lieta uscì] (La bohème). Martha Angelici, André Cluytens, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique [1953]

Robert Massard

Ah! Mimi s’en est allée [Ah, Mimì, tu più non torni] (La bohème). Alain Vanzo, Robert Massard, Orchestra conducted by Erasmo Ghiglia [1960]

Albert Lance

La nuit vient, calme et silencieuse [Viene la sera] (Madame Butterfly). Martha Angelici, Albert Lance, Albert Wolff, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique [1953]

Fée aux grands yeux [Bimba dagli occhi piena di malia] (Madame Butterfly). Berthe Monmart, Michel Sénéchal, Ferdinand Leitner, Orchester der Württembergischen Staatstheater Stuttgart [1963]

Vous êtes mon maître… Ô nuit sereine [Adesso a voi… Dolce notte] (Madame Butterfly). Michèle Le Bris, Georges Liccioni, Orchestra conducted by Jean-Claude Hartemann [1971]

Sur la mer calmée [Un bel dì vedremo] (Madame Butterfly). Marthe Nespoulous, Orchestra conducted by Eugène Bigot [ca. 1928]

Que ta mère t’emportant dans ses bras [Che tua madre] (Madame Butterfly). Géori-Boué, Orchestra conducted by Giancarlo Amati [1962]

Ô de beautés égales [Recondita armonia] (Tosca). Raoul Jobin, André Cluytens, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique [1948]

Notre doux nid caché dans la verdure [Non la sospiri] (Tosca). Suzanne Sarroca, José Luccioni, Orchestra conducted by Albert Wolff [1956]

Tosca divine, a toucher ma main [Tosca divina, la mano mia] (Tosca). Gabriel Bacquier, Jane Rhodes, Manuel Rosenthal, Orchestre National de l’Opéra de Paris [1960]

Le ciel luisait d’étoiles [E lucevan le stelle] (Tosca). José Luccioni, Eugène Bigot, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique [1958]

Franchise à Floria Tosca [Ah! Francheggia a Floria Tosca] (Tosca). Régine Crespin, Paul Finel, Georges Prêtre, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris [1960]

Ô douces mains [O dolci mani] (Tosca). Joseph Rogatchewsky [ca. 1924]

Vous, ma belle madame… Oui, on me dit vénal [Via, mia bella signora… Già mi dicon venal] (Tosca). Arthur Endrèze, Ninon Vallin, Orchestra conducted by Gustave Cloëz [1932]

D’art et d’amour [Vissi d’arte] (Tosca). Germaine Lubin, Orchestra conducted by Gustave Cloëz [1930]

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