OP0197. LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN, Live Performance, 6 Jan., 1954, w.Schaenen Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; Léopold Simoneau, Pierrette Alarie, Suzanne Danco, George London, Lucretia West, Renato Capecchi, etc. (E.U.) 2-Walhall 0072. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 4035122650723
"Simoneau remains the most irreplaceable of [the above] singers. His was one of the most beautiful tenor voices of the past half century. His legato, control of dynamics, and elocution were just perfect....He blended perfectly with other singers in ensemble, yet he never lost his gleaming individuality....Since he retired about 25 years ago, we haven't heard a tenor like him....of all the stereo recordings of the opera, it's the one that most closely approximates authentic French style."
- Ralph V. Lucano, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 1998
“Pierrette Alarie-Simoneau, an internationally known Canadian soprano who sang at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1940s, sang in UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, among other operas at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1940s. A coloratura whose light, lyric voice was often described as silvery or crystalline, Mrs. Alarie-Simoneau was known for her dynamic stage presence and refined musical interpretations. She and her husband, the renowned lyric tenor Léopold Simoneau, often performed together and were long considered the first couple of Canadian opera. Mrs. Alarie-Simoneau, who before her marriage in 1946 was billed as Pierrette Alarie, was a winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air in 1945. She made her Met début on 8 Dec., 1945, as Oscar in Verdi’s UN BALLO IN MASCHERA. She remained at the Met for three seasons, appearing 26 times between 1945 and 1948. Her other rôles there included Xenia in Mussorgsky’s BORIS GODUNOV, Blonde in Mozart’s ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO and Olympia in Offenbach’s LES CONTES d’HOFMANN. Reviewing her Olympia in The New York Times in 1946, Olin Downes wrote, ‘She has a brilliant coloratura, and good stage business in the representation of the stiff gestures of the mechanistic doll’.
Mrs. Alarie-Simoneau also sang with the New York Philharmonic, the Paris Opéra-Comique and the Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence and Glyndebourne Festivals. Her rôles over the years included Rosina in Rossini’s BARBER OF SEVILLE and the title rôles in Delibes’ LAKMÉ, and LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR.
Pierrette Marguerite Alarie was born in Montréal on 9 Nov., 1921. Her father, Sylva, was a choirmaster; her mother, Amanda, a singer and actress. Pierrette began acting on local stages as a child and as a teenager sang popular songs on Canadian radio. She later studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with the distinguished soprano Elisabeth Schumann. After retiring from the opera and concert stages, Mrs. Alarie-Simoneau worked as an opera director and teacher. In 1982 she and her husband founded Canada Opera Piccola, a training company in Victoria.”
- Margalit Fox, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 19 July, 2011