OP1997. LE SONGE D’UNE NUIT D’ÉTÉ (Thomas), Broadcast Performance, 1956, w.Rosenthal Cond. Janine Micheau, Henri Legay, Xavier Depraz, Odette Turba-Rabier, Michel Hamel & André Vessières, etc. (France) 2–Malibran 724. - 7600003777249
“It’s best to sit back and enjoy [Le Songe d’une Nuit d’Été] for what it is – a delightful opéra comique brimming with melody and musical invention. We are also offered a feast of some of the best French singing of the period. The exquisite Janine Micheau with her luminous high notes and the highly accomplished Odette Turba-Rabier blend their voices attractively in a showy florid duet and are also given plenty of solo opportunities to show what they can do. Legay sings the part of Shakespeare with suave charm – think William Shakespeare played by Tino Rossi. If ever a tenor could be described as underrated, it must be the French Henri Legay.”
- Patrick Bade, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2011
“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 Devries, Georges Thill and Léopold Simoneau, Legay represented a lost style of French operatic singing.”
“Janine Micheau was a French singer, one of the leading lyric sopranos of her era in France, she was born in Toulouse, and studied voice at the Paris Conservatoire. She made her professional début at the Opéra-Comique on 16 November 1933, as la Plieuse in LOUISE, following this with Loys in JUIF POLONAIS by Camille Erlanger, etc. By 1935 her performances gained her invitations to Marseille (Lakmé), and then (at the instigation of Pierre Monteux) to Amsterdam (Mélisande) and San Francisco. In Buenos Aires, Erich Kleiber conducted her in Sophie in DER ROSENKAVALIER.
She created the role of Creuse in Darius Milhaud's MÉDÉÉ, for her début at the Paris Opéra in 1940, where she also sang Gilda in RIGOLETTO, Violetta in LA TRAVIATA and Sophie in DER ROSENKAVALIER, among other roles.
Once the war was over, her career became more international than it had been; she performed at La Scala in Milan, La Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera House in London, the San Francisco Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. At these venues she sang nearly all the great French soprano roles. From 1961 she became a voice teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Her final performance was as Pamina in Rouen in May 1968. She died in Paris at the age of 62.”
Xavier Depraz entered the Paris Conservatory in 1947 studying under Fernand Francell for singing, Louis Musy for stage and René Simon for the theater. In 1951 he participated in operatic creations at the Opéra in Mulhouse and Nancy, two works composed by Marcel Landowski, and in concert version of Prokofiev’s THE FIREY ANGEL. He appeared in Béla Bartók’s BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE, plus RIGOLETTO, DON GIOVANNI, DON QUIXOTE and THAÏS. Late in his life he began a prolific dramatic artist career, first on television, for which he notably played the role of Ursus in THE MAN WHO LAUGHS for Jean Kerchbron then to the big screen. Very large, dry, emaciated face, deep timbre, he alternated effectively in military roles, as clergeymen as well as crooks. He was professor of opera at the Paris Conservatoire in 1973.”
- Zillah Akron Dorset