OP3032. LES INDES GALANTES (Rameau), w.Fourestier Cond. l'Opéra Ensemble; Geori Boué, Henri Legay, Roger Bourdin, Janine Micheau, Rita Gorr, Suzanne Sarroca, Jacqueline Brumaire, Georges Vallant, Jean Giraudeau, René Bianco, Raphael Romagnoni, etc. (France) 2-Malibran 776. - 7600003777768
"LES INDES GALANTES (The Gallant Indians) was Rameau's second theatrical work. Termed an opéra-ballet, it was essentially a dance spectacle with sung elements. There was more than one kind of opéra-ballet; the more dramatic works were termed ballets heroiques, and LES INDES GALANTES was one of these. It was first given on 23 August, 1735, to reviews that both praised and condemned it. Much of the music was quite adventuresome and elicited strong reactions from the Parisian public. The libretto was by Louis Fuzelier, a writer of comedies and a well-known author. The Prologue has a theme taken from mythology, and concerns the universality of Love. Each section or entrée is set in an exotic locale and contains a story of an amorous nature.
The exotic locations, while typical of the genre, here point vaguely toward Enlightenment-oriented human universals. Nevertheless, there is plenty of pure spectacle. LE TURC GENEREUX (The Generous Turk) contains a descriptive storm scene, a chorus of sailors, and a ballet by African slaves. The storm music is quite effective, and makes use of Vivaldi-like tremolos and scalar patterns, as well as dramatic key changes.
The Incas' FESTIVAL OF THE SUN is depicted in the second entrï¿½e in a grand spectacle full of choruses, symphonies, and airs. There is a long scene in which the sun is invoked by the priest Huascar, and the chorus 'Brillant Soleil' (Brilliant Sun) is its climax. Although this scene was praised by Voltaire, many found it too new and unusual. The earthquake that follows is described in the orchestra by tremolos, rushing scales, and dissonant harmony, and was considered too difficult to perform. An unusual trio for Phani, Don Carlos, and Huascar is another highlight of this entrée; Huascar's voice argues in counterpoint with the two lovers, right before he is vanquished by the eruption of a volcano. The music of this entrée is very dissonant, emotionally sustained, and quite modern.
LES INDES GALANTES contained only the first two entrï¿½es and the Prologue at its premiere. Afterwards, Rameau added LES FLEURS, which offers emotional release after so much drama. The dominant element in this entrï¿½e is the dance; there is no drama, only serene music. The final LES SAUVAGES (The Savages) was added at a much later date. Set in a North American forest, with Native American characters, after an initial amorous story, the main body of the entrï¿½e is built around the CEREMONY OF THE PIPE OF PEACE. Much of the music for the ceremony was taken from harpsichord music Rameau had published in 1730, and the entree ends with a chaconne written for the opera SAMSON."
- Rita Laurance, allmusic.com
"Geori (Georgette) Boue made her Paris debut at the Opera-Comique in 1939, as Mimi in LA BOHEME (singing in the 1,000th performance at the Salle Favart on 3 May 1951), and other roles there included: Lakme, Manon (singing in the 2,000th performance on 18 January 1952), and Ciboulette (first performance at the Opera-Comique). In her HERODIADE, Louise, Gilda, Violetta, Desdemona, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Tatiana, etc. Boue had a clear voice of considerable power, renowned for her impeccable diction, she was widely regarded as one of the greatest French sopranos of the 1940s. She was married to French baritone Roger Bourdin in May 1944, with whom she can be heard in two recordings, FAUST under Thomas Beecham, and THAIS. She retired from the stage in 1970, then died 5 January, 2017, at age 98."
- David Salazar, operawire.com, 6 Jan., 2017
"One of the greatest singers to emerge on the international opera scene in the 1950's, Gorr was an artist of intensity and versatility whose penetrating, powerful mezzo-soprano and scalding dramatic temperament made her an incomparable Dalila, a magisterial Amneris and a singularly convincing Mère Marie in DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES, which she sang in the Paris premiere of Poulenc's opera in 1957. Her voice was not to every taste - some found her timbre metallic and her upper range narrow - but few would deny that Rita Gorr had a grandeur and command of the stage unequaled in her generation. Gorr sang with the daring and shrewd sense of her own worth that recalled the divas of a previous golden age: critics reaching for superlatives most often compared Gorr to Marie Delna and Jeanne Gerville-Réache, two nonpareil French contraltos of the Belle Epoque.
Gorr's international reputation began with her appearances at the 1958 Bayreuth Festival as Fricka in DAS RHEINGOLD (her festival debut) and DIE WALKURE and the Third Norn in GOTTERAMMERUNG. The following year, Gorr returned to Bayreuth as Ortrud and bowed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Amneris. La Scala welcomed her in 1960 as Kundry. Other European engagements for Gorr included appearances in Vienna, Rome, Bordeaux, Lyon, Orange, Geneva, Brussels, Ghent, Stuttgart, Barcelona and Lisbon.
She made impressive back-to-back debuts in autumn 1962 at the Metropolitan Opera, as Amneris to Leontyne Price's Aida on 17 October, followed by Dalila in the Lyric Opera of Chicago company premiere of SAMSON ET DALILA on 10 November - an assignment Gorr took over on short notice when Giulietta Simionato proved unwilling to re-learn in French a role she knew only in Italian. Gorr's New York appearances were relatively infrequent, despite the extravagant admiration of the local critics. She sang just forty-one performances of six roles during her five seasons on the Met roster - Amneris, Waltraute, Eboli, Azucena, Santuzza and Dalila, the latter in a new Met production of Saint-Saens' opera in 1964, opposite Jess Thomas and Gabriel Bacquier. Gorr also appeared in several memorable concert performances of Massenet works at Carnegie Hall, including Anita in LA NAVARRAISE (1963) and Charlotte to Nicolai Gedda's Werther (1965), both presented by the Friends of French Opera, and the title role in HERODIADE for the American Opera Society (1964), with Régine Crespin as Salome. In 1992, she sang Neris in a concert of Cherubini's MEDEE with Boston Festival Opera. Gorr's last notable U.S. opera house appearance was in 1990, as Madame de Croissy in Seattle Opera's DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES, a characterization she repeated in several subsequent stagings, including Robert Carsen's memorable 1997 production for the Netherlands Opera, and on Kent Nagano's 1990 recording with the Opéra de Lyon (Virgin). Gorr sang opera for more than fifty years. Her last opera performances were in summer 2007, when she was eighty-one, in THE QUEEN OF SPADES for Vlaamse Opera. She died after a long illness."
- F. Paul Driscoll, OPERA NEWS, 23 Jan., 2012
“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 Devriès, Georges Thill and Léopold Simoneau, Legay represented a lost style of French operatic singing."
- Charles H. Parsons, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 2008
"Roger Bourdin studied at the Paris Conservatory, where he was a pupil of André Gresse and Jacques Isnardon. He made his professional début at the Opéra-Comique in 1922, as Lescaut in MANON. His début at the Palais Garnier took place in 1942, in Henri Rabaud's MÂROUF, SAVETIER DU CAIRE. The major part of his career was to be spent between these two theatres, where he created some 30 roles.
Bourdin seldom performed outside France, but did a few guest appearances at the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He also sang in the first performance of surviving fragments of Chabrier's VAUCOCHARD ET FILS IER on 22 April 1941 at the Salle du Conservatoire with Germaine Cernay, conducted by Roger Désormière.
His most memorable roles were: Clavaroche in André Messager's FORTUNIO, Metternich in Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert's L'AIGLON, Duparquet in Reynaldo Hahn's CIBOULETTE, Lheureux in Emmanuel Bondeville's MADAME BOVARY, the lead in Darius Milhaud's BOLIVAR, but also standard roles such as Valentin, Athanael, Onegin, and Sharpless. In all he sang an estimated 100 roles throughout his long career.”
- Ned Ludd
“Raphael Romagnoni, who in the course of a long career would become one of those 'essential tenors' who are regarded as 'pillars' of our Parisian opera houses, made his début at the Grand Théâtre in 1931 in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA. His beautiful voice with its generous top notes lead to many engagements in the provinces and North Africa until World War II. In his first year at the Opéra, he sang Roméo, the Duke of Mantua, Mylio and Faust, a role that he performed with great success for several years. There followed the creations at the Palais Garnier of JEANNE d’ARC AU BUCHER in which he sang the rôle of Bishop Cauchon in all 93 performances with Claude Nollier and six times with Ingrid Bergman (Jeanne), and successively with Jean Vilar, Henry Doublier and Robert Vidalin (Frère Dominique). Later would come LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN in which he sang the title role and, at the end of his career, Spalanzani. He made his début at the Salle Favart in 1947 where he sang Don José, Des Grieux, Werther, Gérald, Hoffmann, Nadir, Pinkerton, Turiddu and Rodolfo in LA BOHEME and Alfredo in LA TRAVIATA. At the same time as his Parisian activities, he toured the big provincial towns and also abroad."
- Jean Ziegler