OP1544. TOSCA - Excerpts (in French), Broadcast Performance, 25 Nov., 1951, Genève, w.Bénédetti Cond. Margaret Mas, Libero de Luca, Paul Cabanel, etc. (France) Malibran 659. - 3760003776599
“Margaret Mas was born in France in 1924, and studied with Madeleine Mathieu in Paris. She began her stage career in the South of France in the numerous French provincial opera houses. In 1949 she made her début at the Paris Opéra, where she remained as a valued company member for the next twenty years, appearing in addition at the Paris Opéra-Comique. From the early 1950s she was also active in Italy, especially at the San Carlo in Naples. In 1957 she participated in the world première of Poulenc’s DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES at La Scala, Milan. She also sang at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires and the Teatro Liceo in Barcelona, and was especially noted for her interpretations of the works of the verismo school of composers, particularly Zandonai and Giordano.”
“Libero de Luca was born in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, and studied voice at the Zürich Coservatory with Alfredo Cairati. After winning a first prize at an international voice competition in Geneva, in 1941, he made his professional début the following year at the Solothurn Municipal Theatre. After one season at the Bern Municipal Theatre, he joined the Zürich Opera where he was first tenor from 1943 to 1949. During that period, he also appeared regularly to great acclaim at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Royal Opera House in London, at La Monnaie in Brussels, and at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In 1949, he made his début at both the Opéra-Comique and the Palais Garnier, where he established himself as lead tenor in the French repertoire.
Libero De Luca was fluent in German, French and Italian, and excelled in all three repertoire in lyric roles. He retired from the stage in 1961, and became a full-time voice teacher in Horn, Switzerland, near Lake Constance, where he died in 1997.
De Luca made several recordings, notably in MIGNON and MANON, opposite Janine Micheau, LAKMÉ, opposite Mado Robin, and CARMEN, opposite Suzanne Juyol. There are also some operetta-recordings on Polydor, conducted by Franz Marszalek.”
“There were considerable artists who are nearly forgotten today, probably due to their few recordings. Paul Cabanel is one of them, at least outside of France. To me, he belongs to the most complete French singers. I could listen to him for hours. What a pity that he recorded no excerpts from his Wagnerian repertoire (Wotan!). Paul Cabanel’s dark-timbred voice is of great beauty and warmth. He is equally outstanding in dramatic (Athanaël) as well as in lyric parts. He shows through characterization, musicality and a perfect French enunciation why he was such an acclaimed artist in his time.
Cabanel sings a lordly and tender Arkel in a reference recording of PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE performed by a great French cast. As Athanaël in THAÏS I even prefer Cabanel to the eminent Robert Massard with whom there is an integral recording. Cabanel was partnered by the Greek-French soprano Elen Dosia, alas a rather shrill and unattractive voice, but Cabanel’s Athanaël is a ‘must’. Do not miss the integral recording of SAMSON ET DALILA conducted by Louis Fourestier. It is the most French style version of that opera. The role of Méphistophélès in LA DAMNATION DE FAUST lies perfectly within Cabanel’s range. No wonder, that it was his most accomplished role on stage.
Paul Cabanel was born in Oran. After studies of law he trained as a singer at the local conservatory and at the Conservatoire National de Paris. During military service he was severely wounded at the Verdun battle in 1916 and was not able to continue his studies until 1919. He made his début as Hérode in Massenet’s HÉRODIADE at Cairo where he also appeared in MANON, FAUST and THAÏS. Until 1932 he sang at various provincial opera houses also making some guest appearances in Belgium and Switzerland. He was engaged at the opera of Bordeaux during seven seasons as well as at the opera of Vichy. It was not until 1932 (!) that he made his début at the Opéra-Comique as Scarpia where his singing was immediately warmly received. The following year he succeeded at the Grand Opéra as Méphistophélès in Berlioz’ LA DAMNATION DE FAUST which became his most famous role. Cabanel became an admired member at both opera houses. His further repertory included Leporello, the High Priest in SAMSON ET DALILA, Escamillo, Tonio, Figaro, Nikalantha, Basile, Colline, the four villains in LES CONTES D’HOFFMANN, Papageno, Frère Laurent and Arkel in PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE including a number of Wagnerian roles. He appeared as Mephistophélès in Gounod’s FAUST more than 1000 times! The artist was engaged at the operas of Rio de Janeiro, the Teatro Colón, the Teatro Liceo Barcelona and at Amsterdam. He was particularly admired at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels where he sang Boris at the end of his career in 1954. From 1942 to 1958 he was a sought-after singing coach at the Conservatoire National de Paris.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile