OP2114. LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS (Hérold), Broadcast Performance, 13 June, 1959, w.Benedetti Cond. Radio Lyrique Ensemble; Berthe Monmart, Claudine Collart, Joseph Peyron, Camille Maurane, Lucien Lovano, etc.; LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS - Excerpts, recorded 1962, w.Etcheverry Cond.Doria, Le Bris, Louvay, Sénéchal, Legros & Giannotti. (France) 2-Malibran 213. - 7600003772138
“LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS is a very tuneful work that provides wonderful opportunities for talented sopranos légères as can be heard on this Malibran compilation of a French radio broadcast from 13 June, 1959….In the famous scene for Mergy, Sénéchal’s…performance is brilliantly sung in a style that has now disappeared….Sénéchal was a great favourite at l’Opéra and Opéra-Comique: he is almost as multi-talented as Peyron….From the complete version, we have the chance to hear one of the lesser-known singers at the Paris Opéra and Opéra-Comique during the nineteen-fifties, Denise Boursin…..Her Isabelle is notable for the sheer beauty of a voice which combines purity with warmth….Renée Doria’s high coloratura soprano is renowned for its formidable pyrotechnic skills and vocal range. Both approaches are valid, and to hear them is a joy…..Much more could be written about this very welcome addition to the Malibran catalogue, but collectors of French opera and singers may be assured that it is a considerable bargain for those who did not already posses its contents.”
- Robert Bunyard, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2016
“LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS (The Scribe's Meadow) is an opéra comique in three acts by Ferdinand Hérold with a libretto by François-Antoine-Eugène de Planard based on Prosper Mérimée's CHRONIQUE DU TEMPS DE CHARLES IX of 1829. LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS was premiered in Paris by the Opéra-Comique at the Salle de la Bourse on 15 December, 1832. However, after the first performance, Madame Casimir refused - possibly demanding more money - to sing in the subsequent performances, and Mlle Dorus of the Opéra was coached by Hérold over five days to take over the role of Isabelle. Pougin claims that this incident exacerbated the composer's ill-health, leading to his death five weeks after the premiere.
The opera, Hérold's last completed one, was very successful, inaugurating the new Salle Favart in 1840, and enjoying some 1,000 performances up to 1871, and reaching its 1,600th at the Opéra-Comique by 1949.”
“Soprano Berthe Monmart débuted at L’Opéra–Comique on 18 April, 1951 as the Countess in NOZZE. She then appeared as Ariadne in ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, Santuzza in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, Fiordiligi in COSÌ FAN TUTTE and Charlotte in WERTHER.
Camille Maurane was a French baritone singer who studied at the Paris Conservatoire in the class of Claire Croiza from 1936 to 1939. He began his professional career as a singer in 1940 at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. He débuted as the Moine musicien in LE JONGLEUR DE NOTRE DAME on 14 January 1940.
His voice was typical of the baryton-martin range (between baritone and tenor). He is famous for his interpretation of Debussy's Pelléas, for which he took part in three complete recordings. He is also regarded as one of the best interpreters of French mélodies, of which he left many recordings. His repertoire extended back to music of Rameau through to Honegger and other contemporaries. A dedicated teacher, he taught at the Paris Conservatory until 1981.”
- Zillah Dorset Akron
“Following studies at the Paris Conservatory, Sénéchal made his début in 1950 at La Monnaie in Brussels. Under contract there for three seasons, he sang the lyric tenor repertory, as he continued to do later at both the Paris Opéra and the Opéra-Comique and in other theaters through France. His sophisticated sense of makeup, stage movement, comic timing, and seizing each element of irony and rendering it unforgettable all are built upon the underpinnings of a handsome light tenor voice, well-trained and always pleasant to hear. So dominant has this supporting artist become, the catalog reveals multiple recordings of his core repertory. His roles grew to include Rossini's Almaviva and Comte Ory, Hylas in Berlioz's LES TROYENS, Paolino in Cimarosa's IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO, Georges Brown in Boieldieu's LA DAME BLANCHE, and three of Mozart's leading tenor parts: Tamino, Ferrando, and Don Ottavio. At Aix-en-Provence in 1956, Sénéchal sang the travesty role of Rameau's PLATÉE, a curious creature of heart-stopping homeliness who believes herself to be beautiful. The role is both a leading one and a character study. His success in the role was so great, he was called upon to perform the part in Amsterdam, at the Monnaie, and later, the Opéra-Comique.
For Sénéchal's Metropolitan Opera début on 8 March, 1982, he was engaged for LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, performing the four comic tenor roles, a turn that by then had all but become a signature assignment. Other roles following at the Metropolitan were Guillot in Massenet's MANON and Mozart's Don Basilio. Sénéchal has, in addition to established repertory stage works, undertaken contemporary operas. At Toulouse, he sang Fabien in the premiere of Marcel Landowski's MONTSÉGUR in 1985. The same year, he appeared as Pope Leo X in Boehmer's DOCKTOR FAUSTUS at the Paris Opéra.
Sénéchal's mastery of the tenor character repertory has repeatedly brought him into the recording studio. His four comic characters in Hoffmann have been preserved on disc three times, while in James Levine's recording of ANDREA CHÉNIER, Sénéchal appears together with his greatly respected Italian counterpart, Piero di Palma, and supporting principals Scotto, Domingo, and Milnes. In addition to Offenbach's HOFFMANN and a near-definitive ORPHÉE AUX ENFERS recorded under Plasson in 1978, Sénéchal appears with Dame Felicity Lott in a recording of LA BELLE HÉLÈNE released in 2000.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com