OP2884. LOUISE (Charpentier) - Abridged, Complete, as recorded, w.Bigot Cond. Ninon Vallin, Georges Thill, André Pernet, Aimée Lecouvreur, etc. (England) Nimbus NI 7829, recorded 1935. Slipcase Edition, w.Elaborate Libretto- Booklet. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 083603782924
“…no soprano who has recorded the title role comes close to Vallin, musically or dramatically. The evenness of vocal production, seamless from bottom to top of her range, is one remarkable asset. The steadiness of tonal emission is a second. But most impressive is the way in which she inhabits the character. Hers is a performance distinguished by its dramatic sweep and urgency. There is not a single phrase that seems just note-spinning. Her third act duet with Julien leaps out of the speakers, and she reflects through specificity of color and inflection Louise’s inner conflict, rebelling against the conventional upbringing from her parents while at the same time feeling love for them.
Georges Thill’s Julien is a vivid demonstration of the reasons for the tenor’s fame. Thill is sometimes criticized for being boring, but that is surely not the case here. Certainly much of his success is due to a remarkable technique and a strong, solid tenor produced in the French manner with almost unsettling ease. And while some of his aria recordings do seem too straightforward and lacking in the injection of a personal touch, that is not the case here. The ecstasy of the big second act duet with Louise could hardly be exceeded while remaining faithful to the score. His sound manages to combine the virtues of the heroic and the lyric tenor in perfect
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
"During the period between the two world wars, Ninon Vallin was unrivaled as the leading lyric soprano in France. Very good technically, she had an admirable art of singing with a style full of inflexion and modulation and was adept at colouring her voice. That voice had a compass of an easy two octaves of the lyric soprano, with free and natural emission, excellent breath control and a very beautiful timbre….Hers was a perfect legato and she was a mistress of portamento.”
- Alfred de Cock, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2003
"Georges Thill is deservedly considered by many the finest lyrico-spinto among French tenors. A rock-solid tone, superb breath control, and an impression of strength carefully weighed through the sensibility of a first-rate musician: these are the qualities Thill brings to his recordings."
- Barry Brenesal, FANFARE, May/June, 2006
“While Thill performed many of the Italian lyric and spinto roles such as the Duke of Mantua, Radamès and Don Carlo, the lighter Wagner roles such as Lohengrin, Parsifal, and Meistersinger, and even Sadko from the Russian repertoire, and was a fine art song performer, Georges Thill is best known for his roles in French opera. During his long career he was the embodiment of French style, that combination of suavity, textual expression, delicacy, and vocal technique. His voice was not huge, but it had considerable carrying power, and his high notes were clear and ringing.
After military service during World War I, he entered the Paris Conservatory in 1919, where he studied with Andre Gresse for two years, after which he went to Naples to study with Fernando de Lucia. He made his operatic début at the Paris Opéra in 1925 as Nicias in Massenet's THAÏS, and thereafter, appeared there every season for the next 15 years, singing the major French tenor roles such as Faust, Werther, Admète in Gluck's ALCESTE, and Enée in Berlioz's LES TROYENS. As his fame spread, he made his Italian début in 1928 as Calaf in Puccini's TURANDOT in Verona, his Covent Garden début as Samson (Saint-Saëns) the same year, and repeated the role of Calaf for his 1929 La Scala and Teatro Colón débuts. His Met debut was in 1931 as Gounod's Roméo. Over the course of his career, he created the title role of Canteloube's VERCINGÉTORIX, and also appeared in the world premieres of such now forgotten operas as Gaubert's NAILA, Hue's LE MIRACLE, Lazzari's LA TOUR DE FEU (a work whose other claim to fame is that it was the first to use film projection in the stage production), and Rataud's ROLANDE. He retired from the operatic stage in 1953, his last performance being at the Paris Opéra, oddly enough in the role of Canio in PAGLIACCI, and then from the concert stage in 1956.
He made three films, best known of which is Gustave Charpentier's LOUISE, with Grace Moore, and also made numerous recordings. His complete recording of Massenet's WERTHER is still a benchmark for all others.”
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com
“André Pernet was a French bass-baritone who studied at the Paris Conservatory before making his operatic début in Massenet's HÉRODIADE at Nice, in 1921. He sang at the Paris Opéra beginning in 1928. He also performed in Amsterdam, Brussels, London and Monte Carlo. He is perhaps best remembered today for his role as the father in the 1939 film version of Gustave Charpentier's LOUISE, directed by Abel Gance and also featuring Grace Moore and Georges Thill. He was noted for singing the title parts in MEFISTOFELE, BORIS GODUNOV, DON GIOVANNI and DON QUICHOTTE. Among the operas in which he created roles during the premiere performances were LE MARCHAND DE VENISE (Hahn), OEDIPE (Enesco), MAXIMILIEN (Milhaud) and VERCINGÉTORIX (Canteloube). Pernet's smooth, elegant, well-produced voice can be heard on a number of recordings which he made between the two world wars.”
- Ned Ludd