Episode 43. Gl’amour I (Bastille Day 2020)

Episode 43. Gl’amour I (Bastille Day 2020)



Another nation, la belle France, has a birthday right around the corner, and today I hoist the Tricolore to celebrate La Fête Nationale. I had planned this episode several weeks ago but when the worldwide #BlackLivesMatter protests began, I felt the need to respond in kind with two episodes featuring music of protest and hope. Today I present the first of two consecutive episodes on French Glamour, for after all, who does Glamour better than the French? I also consider the manner in which exoticism and imperialism make an appearance in French opera in particular. I present a veritable mad rush of great French singers, all possessed of personal poise and vocal appeal. Singers range from such classical artists as Mady Mesplé (whose recent passing we belatedly acknowledge), Régine Crespin, Janine Micheau, Germaine Cernay, Emma Calvé, Renée Doria, Jennie Tourel, Denise Duval, Andrée Esposito, Germaine Féraldy, Françoise Pollet (as well as exemplary Belgian sopranos Emma Luart and Fanny Heldy) to pop singers Joséphine Baker (French by adoption!), and Maurice Chevalier. We allow such non-French interlopers as Geraldine Farrar, Giuseppe di Stefano, Grace Bumbry, Mary Lewis, Teresa Żylis-Gara, Lisette Oropesa, and my beloved Shirley Verrett, many of whom also lived extensively in France, to make their contributions in song to this celebration. And who better than the late Jessye Norman to cap the episode with her rousing rendition of La Marseillaise, as she did in 1989 for the French Bicentennial?


Léo Delibes: Où va la jeune indoue (Lakmé). Mady Mesplé; Jésus Etcheverry, Orchestre de Chambre de l’ORTF [radio recording 24 January 1966]

Oscar Straus, Leo Robin: Oh, that Mitzi (One Hour with You). Maurice Chevalier [rec. 1932]

Jules Massenet: Te souvient-il du lumineux voyage (Thaïs). Mary Lewis [rec. 1925]

Gustave Charpentier: Depuis le jour (Louise). Andrée Esposito. Details unknown

Charles Gounod: Voici la vaste plaine [Air de la Crau] (Mireille). Renée Doria, Jésus Etcheverry, Orchestre Symphonique de Paris [rec. 1962]

Georges Bizet: Près des remparts de Séville (Carmen). Grace Bumbry, Zubin Mehta [live 1967]

Jules Massenet: Pleurez, mes yeux (Le Cid). Germaine Cernay, Gustave Cloëz [rec. 1928]

Fermo Dante Marchetti, Maurice de Féraudy: Fascination. Janine Micheau, Paul Bonneau, Orchestre Symphonique Raymond Saint-Paul [rec. 1961]

Jules Massenet: Je marche sur tous les chemins (Manon). Fanny Heldy; Henri Büsser, Orchestre et Choeur de l’Opéra-Comique de Paris. [rec. 1928]

Jules Massenet: Obéissons que leur voix appelle (Manon). Emma Luart; Gustave Cloëz [rec. ca. 1928]

Jules Massenet: Pardonnez-moi, Dieu de toute puissance (Manon). Teresa Żylis-Gara; Jean Fournet, Orchestra of the Lyric Opera of Chicago [live 29 September 1973]

Christoph Willibald Gluck: Cet aisle aimable et tranquille (Orphée et Eurydice) Germaine Féraldy; Henri Tomasi, L’Orchestre Symphonique de Paris [rec. 1935]

Giacomo Meyerbeer: Robert, toi que j’aime (Robert le Diable). Lisette Oropesa, Dimitry Korchak; Evelino Pidò, La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra [live April 2019]

Folk Song: Ma Lisette. Emma Calvé [rec. 1908]

Charles Gounod: Salut, demeure chaste et pure (Faust). Giuseppe di Stefano; Gaetano Merola, San Francisco Opera Association Orchestra [live 1 October 1950]

Charles Gounod: Juwelen-Arie (Faust). Geraldine Farrar [recorded 1905]

Francis Poulenc, Jean Cocteau: Hier soir je voudrais prendre (La voix humaine). Denise Duval; Francis Poulenc. [live Salle Gaveau, Paris 1959]

Giacomo Meyerbeer: D’ici je vois la mer (L’Africaine). Shirley Verrett; Jean Périsson, San Francisco Opera Orchestra. [live 3 November 1973]

Vincent Scotto, Géo Koger: Haiti (Zou Zou). Joséphine Baker [rec. 1934]

Georges Bizet: Adieu de l’hotesse arabe. Jennie Tourel; Paul Ulanowsky [rec. late 1950s]

Jules Massenet: Je souffre (Hérodiade). Régine Crespin; Georges Prêtre, Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra [recorded 1963]

Charles Gounod: Plus grand dans son obscurite (La Reine de Saba). Françoise Pollet; Cyril Diederich, Orchestre Philharmonique de Montpellier [rec. 1989]

Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle: La Marseillaise. Jessye Norman; Semyon Bychkov, Orchestre de Paris, Choeur de l’Orchestre de Paris [rec. Dec. 1988]

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