OP0263. LE COMTE ORY (Rossini), Live Performance, 21 Sept., 1959, w.Inghelbrecht Cond. RTF Ensemble; Michel Sénéchal, Françoise Ogéas, Solange Michel, André Vessières, Robert Massard, etc. (France) 2-Le Chant du Monde 278893/94, w.Elaborate 83pp. Libretto-brochure in French. Very long out-of-print, Final ever-so-slightly used copy! - 3149023388935
"Following studies at the Paris Conservatory, Michel Sénéchal made his debut in 1950 at La Monnaie in Brussels. Under contract there for three seasons, he sang the lyric tenor repertory, as he continued to do later at both the Paris Opéra and the Opéra-Comique and in other theaters through France. His sophisticated sense of makeup, stage movement, comic timing, and seizing each element of irony and rendering it unforgettable all are built upon the underpinnings of a handsome light tenor voice, well-trained and always pleasant to hear. So dominant has this supporting artist become, the catalog reveals multiple recordings of his core repertory. His roles grew to include Rossini's Almaviva and Comte Ory, Hylas in Berlioz's LES TROYENS, Paolino in Cimarosa's IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO, Georges Brown in Boieldieu's LA DAME BLANCHE, and three of Mozart's leading tenor parts: Tamino, Ferrando, and Don Ottavio. At Aix-en-Provence in 1956, Sénéchal sang the travesty role of Rameau's PLATÉE, a curious creature of heart-stopping homeliness who believes herself to be beautiful. The role is both a leading one and a character study. His success in the role was so great, he was called upon to perform the part in Amsterdam, at the Monnaie, and later, the Opéra-Comique.
For Michel Sénéchal's Metropolitan Opera debut on 8 March, 1982, he was engaged for LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, performing the four comic tenor roles, a turn that by then had all but become a signature assignment. Other roles following at the Metropolitan were Guillot in Massenet's MANON and Mozart's Don Basilio. Sénéchal has, in addition to established repertory stage works, undertaken contemporary operas.
Sénéchal's mastery of the tenor character repertory has repeatedly brought him into the recording studio. His four comic characters in Hoffmann have been preserved on disc three times, while in James Levine's recording of ANDREA CHENIER, Michel Sénéchal appears together with his greatly respected Italian counterpart, Piero di Palma, and supporting principals Scotto, Domingo, and Milnes. In addition to Offenbach's HOFFMANN and a near-definitive ORPHEE AUX ENFERS recorded under Plasson in 1978, Sénéchal appears with Dame Felicity Lott in a recording of LA BELLE HELENE released in 2000."
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com
LE COMTE ORY is a comic opera written by Gioachino Rossini in 1828. Some of the music originates from his opera IL VIAGGIO A REIMS written three years earlier for the coronation of Charles X. The French libretto was by Eugène Scribe and Charles-Gaspard Delestre-Poirson adapted from a comedy they had first written in 1817.
The work is ostensibly a comic opera in that the story is humorous, even farcical. However, it was devised for the Opéra rather than for the Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique and there are structural inconsistencies with the contemporary opéra comique genre: whereas the latter consists of relatively short lyrical numbers and spoken dialogue, LE COMTE ORY consists of highly developed, even massive musical forms linked by accompanied recitative. Although the opera contains some of Rossini's most colorful orchestral writing, the quaint, brief overture is oddly restrained and unassuming, ending with a whisper of pizzicato strings.