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, the leading French Canadian tenor of the 1930s and 1940s, studied in his native Québec and then at the Paris Conservatoire, making both his concert and Paris Opéra débuts in 1930. After a spell back in Canada, he returned to the Opéra in 1934 and was a valued member of the company thereafter. He made his Covent Garden début in 1937 and from 1940 to 1950 was regularly engaged at the Metropolitan in New York, also singing with other companies in North and South America. He sang at the Opéra-Comique from 1946. Although he was best known in the French repertoire, Jobin also appeared with success in Italian rôles and the lighter Wagnerian parts. He taught singing in Montréal from 1957 and made his final stage appearance the following year. His exciting voice can be heard on many recordings.”
- Tully Potter
“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