C1535. CHARLES MÜNCH Cond. Boston S.O., w.Eleanor Steber, Martial Singher, John McCollum & David Laurent: LA DAMNATION DE FAUST (Berlioz). (Canada) 2-St Laurent Studio YSL T-458, , Live Performance, 14 Aug., 1960, Tanglewood Music Festival. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Steber definitely possessed the most glorious instrument of all, with its classically organized technique, impeccable management of breath support, easy agility and, above all, that phosphorescent top register….She was a singer who possessed a rare combination of vocal radiance, technical mastery and personal charisma, and during her best years, the distinctive purity, spinning tone and easy sweetness of her soprano [which] made her the Mozart-Strauss soprano of one’s dreams."
- Peter G. Davis, OPERA NEWS, Nov., 2003
“Martial Singher, a French baritone, made his Metropolitan Opera début in 1943. He made his début at the Paris Opéra in 1930 and soon became a principal baritone with the company. After 11 seasons with the Paris Opéra he enjoyed many guest appearances in Europe and South America. In more than 100 opera roles and in recitals with leading orchestras, he eschewed showmanship and histrionics and stressed smoothness, subtlety and clarity. He was particularly celebrated for the lean, elegant phrasing of his native French repertory.
Of his Met début as Dapertutto in LeS CONTES D'HOFFMANN, Virgil Thomson in THE NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE reported Mr. Singher ‘gave a stage performance of incomparable elegance and did a piece of singing that for perfection of vocal style had not been equaled since Kirsten Flagstad went away’.
Several weeks later at the Met Singher sang his first Pelléas. Mr. Thomson found him ’the glory of the evening, vocally impeccable and dramatically superb’. Olin Downes of THE NEW YORK TIMES hailed the baritone as ‘a fine and experienced artist, an authoritative actor, one firmly grounded in the traditions of his language and stage action and a potent element of the occasion’.
The baritone remained with the Met until 1959, when a severe heart disorder forced him to shift to teaching. He taught at the Mannes College of Music in Manhattan, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and, as director of the voice and opera department, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara (1962 to 1981), where he also produced operas. He was also an artist in residence at University of California at Santa Barbara.”
- Peter B. Flint, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 March, 1990
“John McCollum’s stage debut came in 1953 at the New England Opera Theatre as Fenton in Verdi’s FALSTAFF. He also appeared in 1958 at the Festival of Spoleto in the premiere of the opera SCARF by Hoiby. His career took place to a large extent in North America. He sang there at the operas of Boston, Seattle and Santa Fé, in Washington, Cincinnati, Vancouver and Toronto, but mostly at the New York City Center Opera. He sang frequently with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under conductor Charles Munch, often at the Tanglewood Music Festival.”
- Bach Cantatas Website
“The great conductor Charles Münch was born and raised in Strasbourg. The son of a musician, the nephew of Albert Schweitzer, originally a violinist, he became a professor of the Strasbourg Conservatory. In 1926 he was appointed concert master under Wilhelm Fürtwangler at Leipzig. After the accession to power of the Nazis, Münch left Germany and moved to Paris. He made his début in Paris as a conductor, where he founded the Orchestre Philharmonique de Paris in 1935. In 1938 he was put in charge of the Societé des Concerts du Conservatorie, which he directed until 1946. He used that position during the war and throughout the German occupation to protect French musicians and turned his salary over to the French underground. After the War he was awarded the Legion of Honor. In 1946 he made his American début with the Boston Symphony. After touring the United States and Canada with the Orchestre National in 1948, he was asked to replace the ailing Serge Koussevitzky as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra which remained one of the greatest orchestras in the world until he resigned in 1962. During his 13 years in Boston he won five New York Music Critics Circle awards, and many other for his outstanding recordings.”
- Zillah Dorset Akron