OP3166. MIGNON, Live Performance, 15 May, 1937, w.Pelletier Cond. Metropolitan Opera Ensemble; Jennie Tourel (début), Armand Tokatyan, Léon Rothier, Josephine Antoine, Norman Cordon, etc., featuring Robert Woldrop’s announcements & curtain calls;
MIGNON, Live Performance, 17 Dec., 1938, w.Pelletier Cond. Metropolitan Opera Ensemble; Risë Stevens, Richard Crooks, Ezio Pinza, Alessio de Paolis, etc., featuring Milton Cross’ announcements & curtain calls, a WORLD PREMIERE RELEASE from an extremely rare transcription;
MIGNON – Excerpts: Georgi Vinogradov, recorded 1940 & 1947;
ORFEO – Excerpts: Risë Stevens, w. Erich Kleiber Cond. Teatro Colón Orch., 1939. (Canada) 4-Immortal Performances 4-IPCD 1061. Restoration and Transfers by Richard Caniell. The 1938 performance is a WORLD PREMIERE RELEASE. Specially priced at 4 CDs for the price of 3. - 019962435232
"At her Metropolitan début, Tourel was already a magnificent artist....In the opening scene, Tourel immediately establishes the changeability of Mignon's character....'Connais-tu le pays' overflows with delicious portamenti and beautifully arched phrases....In her duet with Lothario she fairly prances and, unlike other Met Mignons, she even includes a little cadenza, hinting at her future Rossini specialty. Despite the excellence of her first act, one is unprepared for the searing heat of Tourel's portrayal in the second scene of act two. Tourel takes all the high options, including several high B-flats and a high C, singing with passion yet with perfect vocal and musical control. The audience bursts into applause at the abandon of her cry 'Dieu! je deviens folle de rage et de douleur!' Neither Swarthout nor Stevens...comes near to matching the eloquence of Tourel in this scene...."
- Paul Jackson, SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AT THE OLD MET, pp.138-139
"Miss Tourel is mistress of a wider range of coloration in all ranges and at all volumes than any other singer I have ever heard....Her legato skips are the kind of bel canto one dreams about....Her musicianship in every domain is so thorough that from the whole technical and intellectual aspect her work belongs clearly with that of the great virtuosos of music....Miss Tourel is, I believe, unequaled among living singers for the high concentration in one artist of vocal skill, sound musicianship, and stylistic flexibility."
- Virgil Thomson, NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 21 Jan., 1942
"Ms. Stevens [made] her formal operatic début in Prague, as Mignon, in 1936. Joining the Met in 1938, she made her first appearance with the company on 22 Nov., singing Octavian out of town in Philadelphia. On 17 Dec. [above], she performed for the first time on the Metropolitan Opera stage in New York, singing Mignon."
- Margalit Fox, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 21 March, 2013
“At the insistence of conductor Giuseppe Bamboschek, Tokatyan left Italy for America to try his luck. Through Bamboschek's auspices, he was engaged by Antonio Scotti's interesting but short-lived opera company and, while there, made a deep enough impression to prompt a contract offer from the Metropolitan Opera. For the decade beginning with his 14 February, 1923, début, Tokatyan regularly appeared with the company, concentrating on the Italian and French repertories. In early 1933, Tokatyan left the Metropolitan to pursue his concert work, make occasional appearances in opera at such large venues as Lewisohn Stadium and the Hippodrome, and to appear on radio broadcasts. During the Metropolitan's 1936 spring season, Tokatyan returned to the Company and subsequently sang during regular seasons. He remained with the company through 1946....his recordings are valued as mementos of a special artist, both manly and refined in utterance.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
"...Crooks'...voice was by far the most attractive among the American tenors of his generation, combining the sweet Irish lilt of a John McCormack with the weightier accents of a German lyric....he was a favorite with Toscanini, Walter, and Mengelberg - under the latter's baton, Crooks participated in the American première of Mahler's DAS LIED VON DER ERDE."
- Peter G. Davis, THE AMERICAN OPERA SINGER, pp.366-67
“Léon Rothier made his début in 1899 at the Paris Opéra-Comique as Jupiter in Gounod’s PHILÉMON ET BAUCIS. He remained active till 1907 at the Opéra-Comique, where he appeared on 2 Feb., 1900 in the premiere of Charpentier’s LOUISE and on 11 April, 1900 in Erlanger’s LE JUIF POLONAIS. In 1910 he was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera beginning a 30-year association with this opera house. In 1911 he sang there in the première of Dukas’ AriANE ET BARBE-BLEUE, in 1913 in BORIS GODUNOV, in 1922 in Lalo’s LE ROI D'YS. He was still fulfilling public singing engagements in New York as late as 1949, at the Town Hall.”
- Ashot Arkelyan