OP3196. MADAME L'ARCHIDUC, recorded 1956, w. Cariven Cond. Claudine Collart, René Lenoty, Aimé Doniat, André Balbon, Gaston Rey & Freda Betti; LA FIFRE ENCHANTÉ, recorded 1958, w.Roger Ellis Cond. Nicole Broissin, Joseph Peyron, Claudine Collart, Aimé Doniat & Gilbert Moryn (both Offenbach; both Radio-Lille Ensemble). [Particularly memorable are the performances of the exquisite Nicole Broissin & Claudine Collart (the latter whom we recently lost on 15 March 2016), the inimitable Aimé Doniat and the delightful Joseph Peyron! Another irresistible charmer - among the very best in this series!] (France) 2-Malibran 801. - 7600003778017
“MADAME L’ARCHIDUC is an opéra bouffe, or operetta in three acts, by Jacques Offenbach, with a French libretto by Albert Millaud first performed at the Bouffes-Parisiens (Salle Choiseul) in Paris in 1874. After a slow start MADAME L’ARCHIDUC had an opening run of 100 performances. It was seen in Vienna in 1875 and London in 1876. Highlights of the score include the quartet in cod-English for the count, countess and young couple in Act 1, an ‘alphabet’ sextet for Marietta, Giletti and the conspirators in Act 2, and a polka for the arrival of the dragoons.
Presented for the first time in Paris at the Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens on 30 September, 1868, LA FIFRE ENCHANTÉ is an enchanting lyric comedy in one act.
Though flattered, Madame Robin resisted valiantly the attentions of the public prosecutor Popelinet, while M. Robin, under cover of a visit to a dying friend, went to rejoin the sweet Isabelle. Taking advantage of the absence of his masters, Coraline receives Rigobert, her lover, followed by some fifes of his company, but the hasty return of Mrs. and Mr Robin forces Popelinet, Rigobert and the fifes to hide. Its hilarity and charm are infectious! Among Offenbach’s finest creations!”
- Ned Ludd
“When Aimé Doniat left the Conservatoire (with a first Bassoon Prize), he was engaged in an orchestra. After only three months, and having made the acquaintance of a small traveling troupe, he was hired to accompany it during its tour in Algeria, and then joined with it in Marseilles. From there, he joined the National Radio. The Radio Orchestra and its chorus returned to Paris in March 1943. Doniat became a soloist and was frequently called upon to replace singers in lyrical performances on various Parisian and provincial scenes. As early as 1944, he decided to take a big risk and became soloist for the various radio programs: operettas, comic operas. His new activity also led him to participate in several casts in various operettas performed in concert halls.
Doniat worked extensively for Véga, Decca, RCA, Erato, Saphir, Le Chant du Monde, Musidisc, EMI, Pathé, Vox, Visadisc, Philips and recorded over 160 LPs. After the disappearance of the LP, more than fifty reissues were released before the end of the twentieth century, in discs, cassettes and compact discs. He won 10 Grands Prix du Disque. He sang Delmet, Botrel, Scotto, and many others. He resurrected medieval songs. He wrote lyrics on ancient mélodies he loved to discover. He translated into French the booklets of a few German-language operettas.
Beside his recordings, Aimé Doniat remained one of the essential pillars of the Lyric Service of the RTF, then of the ORTF. For many years, before the taste of the French public for classic lyric art faded, he recorded a dozen operettas a month (which left very little time for rehearsals) with Jany Sylvaire and Lina Dachary, his most faithful female partners, and under the direction in particular of Jules Gressier and Marcel Cariven. The number of these recordings was reduced to two per month during the last ten years of its life, as broadcasting programs had shrunk considerably on national radio. They were heard more on the Belgian and Swiss radio channels. Doniat taught singing for a long time on a private basis, for a few selected pupils, ultimately teaching at Versailles.”
“André Balbon was a French bass opera singer, born in 1902. He was principally active in France in character roles. In 1924 he appeared in LES BURGRAVES by Léo Sachs at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, before working in the French provinces for several years.
Balbon made his début at the Paris Opéra-Comique on 1 November 1928 as un Officier in LORENZACCIO by Moret. From then until the 1940s he was a regular member of the Opéra-Comique company with an extensive repertoire. He sang in the Paris premieres of BOURGEOIS DE FALAISE by Thiriet (Sottencourt), COMME ILS S'AIMENT by Lavagne (Lustrac), ESTHER DE CARPENTRAS by Milhaud (Cacan), FOU DE LA DAME by Delannoy (Cavalier noir), FRASQUITA by Lehar (Aristide), GEORGES DANDIN by d’Ollone (Sottenville), NUIT EMBAUMÉE by Hirschmann (Ali), MON ONCLE BENJAMIN by Bousquet (Pontcassé), RAYON DE SOIERIES by Rosenthal (Monsieur Loyal), RIQUET À LA HOUPPE by Hue (Marquis de Carabas), LE ROI D'YVETOT by Ibert (Renaud), LE TESTAMENT DE TANTE CAROLINE by Roussel (Maître Corbeau), TOUT ANK AMON by Pérez (Hapousend), VIEUX GARÇONS by Urgel (von Petersboom), and ZADIG by Duperrier (Arimage).
In 1933 Balbon created the title role in Marc Berthomieu’s opérette ROBERT MACAIRE, at the Grand Théâtre in Le Havre. For two seasons, from 1953–55, Balbon sang at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels, appearing as Calchas (LA BELLE HÉLÈNE), Pomarel (LA CHASTE SUZANNE by Jean Gilbert), Gaspard (LES CLOCHES DE CORNEVILLE) and the Baron de Gondremark (LA VIE PARISIENNE).
In 1934 he appeared as Popoff in the Meilhac version of DIE LUSTIGE WITWE (La Veuve Joyeuse) at the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Lyrique in Paris and returned to the role in Geneva in February 1954 in a Grand Théâtre de Genève production starring Jacques Jansen as Danilo.
Balbon participated in FEU D'ARTIFICE by Erik Charell and JURG AMSTEIN with music by Paul Burkhard starring Suzy Delair at the Théâtre Marigny in 1952. He sang Robinet in the premiere of the comédie lyrique COLOMBE by Jean-Michel Damase and Jean Anouilh on 5 May 1961.”