OP0288. MÂROUF (Rabaud), Broadcast Performance, 13 March, 1964, w.Le Conte Cond. Radio-Télévision Française;
Legay, Dachary, Capderou, Vessières, Peyron, etc.; La Dame Blanche – Excerpts (Villabella & Devriès);
Le Chalet – Excerpts (Billot, Pujol & Lafont). (Portugal) 2-Gala 100.587. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 8712177042104
“MAROUF is based on a tale from the ARABIAN NIGHTS. The title character, as drawn by Rabaud and his librettist Lucien Nepoty, must certainly be one of the most passive protagonists in operatic literature! Our Cairene cobbler isn't ambitious, clever, or brave. Rather he trusts to luck, or perhaps the will of Allah. When his ‘Calamitous Spouse’ drags him before the law for beating her, though innocent, he accepts his punishment without a word in his own defense. He does at last choose to flee the harpy, and takes to the high seas with a group of mariners. But shortly thereafter he finds himself beaten and robbed far from home. It is a preposterous story that is meant to amuse, rather than to move the emotions. In fact Marouf's servile manner and vocal lines filled with endless sing-song arabesque started grating on me after a bit - that is, until I encountered his beguiling ‘Saamcheddine’! The couple's Act 3 love duet is perhaps the musical high point of the opera.
‘Modernism is the enemy’ was a favorite dictum of the Rabaud's, so it's no surprise that his opera has little in common with the works of such near contemporaries as Arnold Schönberg or even his compatriot Maurice Ravel. There's hardly a hint of the desperate passions found in contemporary verist works either, such as Zandonai's FRANCESCA DA RIMINI or Montemezzi's L'AMORE DEI TRE RE. Rather the name which most often springs to mind while listening to Marouf is that of his professor, Massenet--especially in that composer's lighter and more fanciful moods, found in operas like ESCLARMONDE or CENDRILLON.
Like Massenet, Rabaud's music is suave, melodious, and meticulously crafted. Everything is paced with an astute sense of proportion. But the observant ear will also detect many fascinating ‘twentieth centuryisms’ - hints of Straussian and Debussian harmonies that delight the ear and set his music apart from that of his more famous teacher. He also boasts a formidable orchestral technique.
Rabaud's opera doesn't aim for the heavens, but it achieves its more modest goals with such ease and facility that one cannot help but feel a certain delight in it.”
- Eric D. Anderson, OPERA NEWS, 27 Aug., 2005
“Henri Legay was a French operatic tenor, primarily French-based as his light lyric voice was especially suited to the French operatic repertoire. Born in Paris, he won First Prize at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1947, and began his career singing operetta. He made his operatic début at La Monnaie in Brussels in 1950, also appearing in Lausanne. He began a long association with the Opéra-Comique in 1952, as Gérald in LAKMÉ, quickly establishing himself as one of the leading tenors of his time. He left a few recordings, LES PÊCHEURS DE PERLES, LE ROI D'YS, and most notably MANON, opposite Victoria de los Ángeles and conducted by Pierre Monteux, widely regarded as the definitive recording of Massenet's opera. Along with such early twentieth century tenors as David Devriès, Georges Thill and Léopold Simoneau, Legay represented a lost style of French operatic singing.”
- Z. D. Akron