V0058. PAUL FRANZ: Arias from Les Huguenots, Aïda, Roméo, Carmen, Samson et Dalila, Sigurd, Hérodiade, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Die Walküre, Siegfried & Parsifal. (Austria) Preiser 89099, recorded 1911-29. Final Copy! - 717281890991
“Among the Wagnerian tenors of French descent, two - Charles Dalmorès and Paul Franz - have achieved legendary status. For me, the voice of the dramatic tenor Paul Franz is one of the finest of all French voices that emerged in the years immediately prior to the outbreak of WW I. He made a sizeable quantity of recordings for HMV, Pathé and Columbia between 1909 and 1932. He possessed a dark and powerful voice, with fully blended registers and a pronounced expressivity. His Wagner singing is equally outstanding as that of Jaques Urlus and Lauritz Melchior. The voice itself was unforced, at once lyrical and strong, with broad, well-bounded phrases. Some electrical recordings, made when he was more than 50, still show him at the height of his abilities. Dramatic tenors at the turn of the century managed to sing - apart from the heavy parts - more lyrical roles. In all Wagnerian excerpts (PARSIFAL) and in Sigurd’s aria ‘Un souvenir poignant’ he is at his absolute best. These recordings should be thoroughly studied by every student trying to tackle dramatic parts.
His height, his build, also the size of his voice suit him to the great heroic roles...The voice is admirable, it is at once very large and of a charming delicacy, at times even caresses. He has good pronunciation, his phrasing is expansive, perhaps on occasion a little too much so...Above all he has that great quality, his is a natural voice; he sings without effort and without having to fake a brazen effect, for his is a clarion voice from bottom to top.
In 1908, Franz won a competition for amateur singers and immediately attracted the attention ot the director of the Grand Opéra in Paris. His début that same year as Lohengrin in Nantes was a remarkable success and he subsequently joined the ensemble of the Grand Opéra, where he remained as an admired member until 1938. He was not only compared with Jean de Reszké but also with the great Ernest van Dyck and Charles Rousselière. Apart from his extraordinary vocal qualities, Paul Franz also enchanted his audiences with his impressive stage appearance. He was much acclaimed at Covent Garden where he sang between 1910 - 1914 (Raoul, Julien in LOUISE, Radames and Otello). In 1915 he appeared at La Scala and in 1918 at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. After his stage farewell he was appointed a professor at the Conservatoire National de Paris.”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile