Les Huguenots  (Tony Poncet, Suzanne Sarrocca, Henri Medus, Jane Berbier)   (Malibran AMR 153)
Item# OP3264
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Product Description

Les Huguenots  (Tony Poncet, Suzanne Sarrocca, Henri Medus, Jane Berbier)   (Malibran AMR 153)
OP3264. LES HUGUENOTS - Excerpts, Live Performance, 1960, w.Cariven Cond. Tony Poncet, Suzanne Sarrocca, Henri Médus, Jane Berbier, Christiane Harbell, René Bianco, Jean Borthayre, etc.; TONY PONCET: Arias from Guillaume Tell & Il Trovatore – Live Performances, 1960& 1962. (France) Malibran AMR 153.

CRITIC REVIEWS:

“Vezzani clearly had the better and more pure style and Luccioni the more sensuous sound and more metal, but it was Poncet (The Last of the French ‘fort ténors’) who kept those Meyerbeer operas in the repertoire at a time when so called serious critics and managers thought them old trash. Lucky for us in the eighties some singers realized what a gap of operatic history was disappearing (and what possibilities for success) and though not common, a lot of revivals have proven these operas to be a treasure trove. But none of the tenors after Poncet (surely not in France) were able to step into his vocal shoes as most of them were spintos at their best. Tony Poncet was indeed the last fort ténor.

Nowadays one is happy when a few tenors turn up at a singing contest, but in those days it was not strange to pass judgment on hundreds of hopefuls of that most rare vocal category. To win the fort ténor prize Poncet sings the ‘Celeste Aida’ as a real love song with delicate shades of mezza-voce and piano, though of course clinging to the traditional high B at the end.

Poncet made his official opera debut at the municipal theatre of Avignon. It must have been quite an occasion for Poncet as he had to sing the roles of Turiddu and Canio in one evening, no mean feat. In June 1956, he had an audition before Georges Hirsch, the general manager of the two Paris Opera Theatres. Hirsch realized Poncet’s potential and helped him improve his musical and scenic abilities. He understood the problems of Poncet’s height and decided that lack of centimetres can be an asset when singing Canio, a poor clown and a cuckolded husband. In January 1957 Poncet made his debut at the Opéra-Comique and scored a triumph. A serious critic like Roland Mancini tells us that one of the two most intense ovations he ever heard at a debut at the theatre belongs to the tenor (Robert Massard got the other one in IL BARBIERE). Then Poncet made his debut at the Opéra itself in the one aria-role of DER ROSENKAVALIER, an opera where it is plausible that the Marschallin has all kind of strange looking servants and so a very small tenor can fit easily in. Poncet was more than ably partnered by some of France’s best singers like Andrea Guiot, Gabriel Bacquier, Jean Borthayre at the Comique and Crespin at the Opéra. The voice is dark-hued as Spanish tenor voices often are and the timbre is not conventionally beautiful. But Poncet doesn’t chop up his phrases; he has legato and can sing mezza-voce (though piano is not his forte). At last here was a successor of Affre, Granal, Verdière, Luccioni and Vezzani. Always generous to a fault, he helped Toulon out on the 21st of December 1958 when their announced tenor fell ill. He sang Canio at the matinee and in the evening he appeared as Rodolfo.

Poncet was not much of an actor but how could he be with his [lack of] height in such heroic roles. He wore a pair of very high heels that, however, didn’t much improve the situation, and one of his not very nice nicknames was ‘Puss in boots’.”

- Jan Neckers





“In 1949 Suzanne Sarroca made her debut in her home city of Carcassonne as Charlotte in Massenet's WERTHER and reprised this role later at the OperaHouse in Toulouse. In1951 she sang Carmen in Brussels, and in the following year she made her debut at the Paris Opéra-Comique as Tosca, and in the same year she also signed a contract at the Paris Grand Opéra where she sang leading dramatic soprano roles. Her guest appearances were also a great success: in 1961 she sang Donna Anna at the Opéra in Marseille; in1965, Elisabetta in DON CARLOS at the Rome Opera, and again at the Teatro San Carlos in Lisbon and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires.

Also in Paris, in 1957 she sang Octavian in DER ROSENKAVALIER with Régine Crespin as the Marschallin, and 1966 with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. “

- Z. D. Akron