OP2132. WERTHER, Broadcast Performance, 17 Jan., 1957, w.Gressier Cond. Geneviève Moizan, Georges Noré, Liliane Berton, Robert Massard, etc.; Irma Kolassi & Raoul Jobin: Werther – Excerpts. (France) 2-Malibran 743. – 7600003777430
“Geneviève Moizan entered the Conservatoire de Paris in 1942, and upon graduation in 1946 she won first prize in the Saint Sulpice competition. She débuted at the Paris Opéra in 1949 as Marguérite in FAUST (with Noré and André Pernet), moving on to a vast repertoire. She often appeared in Monte Carlo, Geneva, Strasbourg, Brussels, Algiers, etc. It was, however, her collaboration with the ORTF which gained her the essential part of her national popularity for almost twenty-five years.
With its clear timbre, her lyric soprano was equally acclaimed in both dramatic and mezzo-soprano rôles: Werther, Sapho, Le Roi d'Ys, Mignon, Il Trovatore, etc.”
- Zillah D. Akron
"Raoul Jobin made his début at the Paris Opéra on 3 July, 1930, as Tybalt in ROMÉO ET JULIETTE. He quickly sang principal tenor rôles at both the Opéra and the Opéra-Comique, as well as in many cities throughout France, Lyons, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Marseilles, etc. He sang mainly the French repertoire, with occasional incursions into the Italian repertoire. With the outbreak of the war, he returned to North America. He made his début at the Metropolitan Opera on 19 February, 1940, as des Grieux in MANON. He remained with the company until 1950, where he sang many rôles alongside such singers as Lily Pons, Bidu Sayao, Licia Albanese, Risë Stevens, under conductors such as Wilfrid Pelletier and Thomas Beecham. He made regular appearances in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, etc., also appearing in Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires. After WW II, he returned to Paris in 1947, where he successfully sang his first major Wagnerian rôle, Lohengrin, earning him the nickname ‘Monsieur Lohengrin’. He later sang the role of Walther in DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG with equal success. He also created the rôle of Fabrice Del Dongo in LA CHARTREUSE DE PARME by Henri Sauguet. Subsequently, Jobin divided his time largely between Europe and America, maintaining his high standard in his accustomed rôles while adding new ones, until his retirement from the stage in 1958."
- Z. D. Akron
“Irma Kolassi was born in Athens to a family of musicians who became established in Paris a few months after her birth. Her first language was French, and her uncle, a violinist who studied with Georges Enescu, provided her initiation into music. Kolassi then entered the Athens conservatory to study piano, where she carried away a brilliant first prize at the age of 14, playing Ravel’s ’Gaspard de la Nuit’. At her uncle’s house, she met Dimitri Mitropoulos several times. He recognized that she was an accomplished musician. As he was leaving Greece to embark on an international career, he recommended her to soprano Maggie Karadja. After three years of study, with the piano still playing an integral role, the jury decided to award her the first prize in singing for the year 1938. Without the benefit of a scholarship, Irma Kolassi left for Rome in 1938, where she took singing and piano lessons with Casella and Edwige Ghibaudo. World War II caused her to return to Athens and she appeared on stage, but she was not happy at the opera and decided instead to teach (she worked with Maria Callas about the role of Fidelio in 1944!). She then returned to France in 1948. From then on, her career blossomed. She worked with all of the great musicians of her day (von Beinum, Rosbaud, Monteux, Münch, van Otterloo, Krips, Giulini, to name but a few). She was also very successful in works by Schönberg, Berg, Mussorgsky and Stravinsky, among other modern composers. She became a well-known teacher and gave masterclasses in Europe and Japan.
Conoisseurs of French song know her and love her. She left behind only a limited discography. She recorded a magnificent ‘Poème de l’amour et de la Mer’ by Chausson. We associate French Singing with a clear, bright and forward tone; elegance of phrasing and diction, an equal concern for tonal beauty and eloquent declamation. Irma Kolassi is a refined and cultivated singer. Her declamatory style focuses more on dynamics than color, and her expressive register, varied as it is, always command a nobility of tone. Her direct predecessors in this repertory had been Claire Croiza and Jane Bathori.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile