V2145. ANDRÉE ESPOSITO: Arias from Benvenuto Cellini, Louise, Carmen, Manon, Faust, Phryne & Les Pêcheurs de Perles - recorded 1958-72; w. Robert Massard; Albert Wolff Cond.: THAÏS – Excerpts, recorded 27 Aug., 1959. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 33-152. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. [Along with Mady Mesplé, Esposito was one of the last exponents of exquisite French style and taste!]
“Andrée Esposito was born in Algiers, Algeria, into a family of French-Italian origin. She began her musical studies at the Music Conservatory of her native city, obtaining a first prize there. She completed her studies at the Paris Music Conservatory, where she was a pupil of Louis Noguéra and Charles Panzéra. She made her professional début at Metz, as Suzel in Camille Erlanger's LE JUIF POLONAIS.
Esposito was then quickly invited to all the major opera houses of France, including the Paris Opéra-Comique, singing the standard French light lyric reportory: Olympia in LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, Philine in MIGNON, MIREILLE, Micaela in CARMEN, Leila in LES PÊCHEURS DE PERLES and LAKMÉ. She made her début at the Paris Opéra in 1959, as Violetta in LA TRAVIATA. Other roles there included, Rosina in IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA, the title role in LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Gilda in RIGOLETTO, Xenia in BORIS GODUNOV, Marguerite in FAUST, Juliette in ROMÉO ET JULIETTE, as well as Massenet's MANON and THAÏS.
She was also a very active recitalist, especially of French songs by Chausson and Duparc. She participated in the creation of many contemporary works, such as LE CHEVALIER DE NEIGE by Delerue, ANDREA DEL SARTO by Daniel-Lesur, THE MINES OF SULPHUR by Bennett, and THE DEVILS OF LOUDUN by Penderecki. She also enjoyed singing in operettas, such as DIE FLEDERMAUS, and THE MERRY WIDOW.
Esposito was married to French baritone Julien Haas, with whom she often appeared on stage, the two were also active as voice teachers at the Strasbourg Music Conservatory.
Massard made his professional début at the Paris Opéra in 1952, as the High Priest in SAMSON ET DALILA, shorthly followed by Valentin in FAUST. The same year, he also made his début at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, as Thoas in IPHIGÉNIE EN TAURIDE. His career rapidly took an international dimension with débuts in 1955, at La Scala and the Glyndebourne Festival, both as Ramiro in L'HEURE ESPAGNOLE. Oreste in IPHIGÉNIE EN TAURIDE was his début role at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Royal Opera House in London, and the Edinburgh Festival. Massard also appeared in North and South America, notably at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, at Carnegie Hall and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Henceforth considered one of the best French baritones of his generation, he was internationally acclaimed as Valentin in FAUST, Escamillo in CARMEN, Fieramosca in BENVENUTO CELLINI, and Golaud in PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE.”
- Ned Ludd
“…Albert Wolff’s mid-1950s Decca recordings remain a potent point of contact with authentic Opéra-Comique style….Wolff and his players offer fresh, invigorating vignettes that course with zest, sparkle and Gallic generosity of spirit….the qualities of a lost style assume striking resonance.”
- Ian Julier, CLASSIC RECORD COLLECTOR, Autumn, 2003
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent's natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011