OP0316. MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE - Excerpts (Complete, as recorded) (Messager), recorded 1919, w.Kennedy Russell Cond. Prince’s Theatre Orch.; Maggie Teyte, Marion Green, John Clarke, Robert Parker & Alice Moffat. (England) Palaeophonics 72. Excellently transferred from the 1919 recordings, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 16pp Brochure replete w.photos from the London production.
“MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE is a romantic opera in three acts, composed by André Messager. The piece premiered at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Birmingham, England, on 7 April 1919, before opening at the Prince's Theatre in London under the management of Frank Curzon on 19 April 1919, then transferring to the Palace Theatre on 29 July 1919, for a successful run.
Reviewing the premiere, The Times [21 April 1919] concluded, ‘If MONSIEUR BEAUCAIRE avoids being an opera it enlists some of the best talents of the Opera. Miss Maggie Teyte, surrounded by half a dozen lovers on the stage, may be sure of as many hundreds in the auditorium, and Mr. Marion Green, every inch the Noble Personage, has a voice to match. Miss Alice Moffat and Mr. John Clarke together make the subsidiary lovers attractive, and Mr. Robert Parker is the very image of courtly vice. It Is rare to get so much good singing where good acting must have been the first requirement in making up the cast. There is a chorus which adds to its beautiful dresses the power of producing quite a beautiful sound, and an orchestra which, under Mr. Kennedy Russell, lets us enjoy the best that Mr. Messager can give’.
A series of 78rpm records were made by British Columbia in London in 1919 [above] at the time of the creation, with Marion Green, Maggie Teyte, Alice Moffat and John Clarke, with the Prince's Theatre Orchestra conducted by Kennedy Russell.
Dame Maggie Teyte was born on 17 April, 1888, in Wolfverhampton, England. After studies at home, she went to Paris where she became a pupil of the celebrated tenor Jean de Reszke who had given up his career in 1900 to teach. In March 1906, she made her début in a series of Mozart concerts conducted by Reynaldo Hahn, and in 1907 became a member of the Paris Opéra-Comique. After a few small parts, she was cast as Mélisande, replacing the celebrated originator of the rôle, Mary Garden. To prepare for PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE, Teyte was sent to study with Debussy himself, every day for six months! By reputation he was a terror and a martinet, but according to Teyte, he rarely corrected her; in fact he hardly spoke to her at all (!). Clearly he appreciated her talents, both the natural beauty of her voice and her instinctive interpretation of his music. In 1910, she conquered London audiences with her portrayals of Cherubino in MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, Blonde in ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO, and Mélisande, all under the baton of Sir Thomas Beecham. When Sir Paolo Tosti was asked his impression of the young soprano, he replied: ‘she is the only singer today who can sing’. Rare praise in an era when Melba and Caruso were still in their prime!
Despite her early successes, Teyte had a difficult time finding a place for herself in the main opera houses of the world. She developed a following in Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia, and sang in America through the end of World War I, but did not appear in New York. She married in 1921 and went into a period of semi-retirement. Upon the disruption of her marriage in the early 1930s, Teyte faced difficulties of resuming her career after an absence of nearly a decade.
Maggie Teyte’s career was revived in 1936 by a set of recordings she made for EMI of Debussy songs accompanied by Alfred Cortot. Though the outbreak of the Second World War interrupted the progress of her ‘second career’, her recordings established her reputation in England and the United States as the leading French art singer of her time. In 1948, she made her first New York appearances: a Town Hall recital followed by a series of performances of PELLÉAS at the City Center Opera. Teyte continued performing in opera until 1951 and on the concert stage until her retirement in 1955 (at age 67). In 1958 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She died in London on 26 May, 1976.
Her voice is of exquisite purity, perfect placement; there is spontaneity and distinction. Hers is a voice of a ‘femme fragile’, perfectly adapted for French mélodies. She had a conscientious and painstaking approach to the art of interpretation. Maggie Teyte’s recordings are indispensable for lovers of French music.”
- Edward Blickstein, VAI
“A gentleman farmer with a love of Edwardian and early Twentieth Century music has created a home industry of preserving early Musical and Revue scores as recorded on 78 and cylinder, the latter of which he is certainly a specialist. It is an impressive list of shows that Dominic Combe has digitalised and issued on Compact Disc. Not only is it the recordings but the lovingly created books that attach.
Early theatre recordings abound in Great Britain, more so than in the United States where it took them some time to start recording original cast material. And so, many early scores are available to be heard. But what Dominic discovered when he started assembling these scores was that often latter day British 78 and cylinder record collectors turned their noses up on recordings of dance music or covers and ‘best of’ or ‘gems’ making them hard to find. And, it is those recordings which can often contain songs not otherwise recorded. He has built strong connections with other collectors willing to lend material to make each issue as complete as possible.
Modern equipment and an aptitude for perfection have helped Dominic ‘clean up’ old 78 and cylinder records to deliver a sound quality that can be stunning. The booklets are produced with as much care by using original theatre programmes or magazines such as PLAY PICTORIAL and MUSIC FOR ALL so that the listener can get a good idea of how the show looked as well as to see the unique art work used to advertise the show back then.
Dominic has issued over fifty of these gems and still has titles either being completed or awaiting to be started on. The label is called PALAEOPHONICS.”
- y phayward, OVERTURES: The Bunnet-Muir Musical Theatre Archive Trust, 10 July, 2017