V1069. CHARLES DALMORÈS: Songs by Tosti, Delibes & Massenet; Arias from Roméo, Carmen, Grisélidis, Samson et Dalila, Le Prophète, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Faust, Il Trovatore & Lohengrin; RENÉ MAISON: Arias from La Damnation de Faust, Lohengrin, Die Walküre & Fidelio. (France) Malibran 637. - 3760003776377
“Charles Dalmorès made his operatic début at the Théâtre des Arts in Rouen on 6 October, 1899, in the Wagnerian rôle of Siegfried. Following this, he spent six seasons with the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and sang with success at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1904-1905 and 1909-1911.
His American début took place in Gounod's FAUST, in which he appeared with New York's Manhattan Opera Company on 7 December, 1906. He spent four years with the company, specializing in French rôles. For American audiences, he created the rôles of Julien in Charpentier's LOUISE and Jean Gaussin in Massenet's SAPHO. Another famous part that he sang was Pelléas in Debussy's PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE. He also appeared in numerous productions with the Philadelphia Opera Company between 1908-1910.
In 1910 Dalmorès was engaged by the Chicago Grand Opera Company with whom he performed until 1914. The company was highly active in Philadelphia as well as Chicago and often performed under the title of the Philadelphia-Chicago Grand Opera Comoany while in that city. With that company he notably performed the rôle of Vinicius in the United States première of Jean Nouguès's QUO VADIS. In 1917 Dalmorès joined the Chicago Opera Association. There he sang for the first time the title rôles in Wagner's PARSIFAL and TRISTAN UND ISOLDE. He also visited Germany and Austria on different occasions prior to the outbreak of World War I, performing Wagner in the original language in Berlin and other cities. In 1908-1909, he appeared at the Vienna Court Opera and undertook the rôle of Lohengrin, in Wagner's eponymous opera, at the 1908 Bayreuth Festival.
Tall for a tenor, he was praised by contemporary critics not only for his strong, steady, well-modulated voice but also for his impressive stage presence and acting. Fortunately, he made a number of gramophone records for Victor which have been reissued on CD. Produced between 1907 and 1912, they confirm the excellence of his musicianship and the imposing power of his declamatory singing, although the top of his range sounds a bit constricted on these 100-year-old discs. One of his most celebrated records is a 1907 rendition of Manrico's aria ‘Ah! si, ben mio’, from Verdi's IL TROVATORE, in which he displays an admirably smooth legato line, elegant phrasing and a splendid trill. He also recorded a few French songs as well as arias and duets from various operas, including LOHENGRIN, Meyerbeer's LE PROPHÈTE, Saint-Saëns' SAMSON ET DALILA, Offenbach's LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, Bizet's CARMEN, Massenet's GRISELIDIS, and Gounod's ROMÉO ET JULIETTE and FAUST.
Dalmorès returned to France in 1918 but subsequently went back to the United States to live. He taught singing and died in Hollywood, California at the age of 68. In the pantheon of great French dramatic/lyric-dramatic tenors, his place is secure. He proved to be a worthy successor to Jean de Reszke, Léon Escalais and Albert Alvarez, each of whom enjoyed international careers during the 1890s and early 1900s. Of those French-speaking tenors who took up his mantle, the most esteemed were Paul Franz and Fernand Ansseau, followed in turn by Rene Maison, Georges Thill and, finally, Jose Luccioni, who was the last representative of this distinguished lineage. Luccioni retired in 1962. There are no big-voiced French tenors of comparable stature singing today.”
- Ned Ludd
“[Maison’s] efforts are to be applauded, as they are most fulfilling in every musical and artistic aspect imaginable, and underline the fact that he was one of the most histrionically and vocally talented tenors of his generation….René Maison’s voice has a timbre that…can perhaps be compared to a slightly dry, yet rich and full-bodied red wine. He was a big man physically, and his repertoire and the tone emitted on his recordings do indicate size, weight and a delivery that (according to critical reviews) must have demonstrated excellent projection.”
- Alan Bilgora, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2011