OP0551. LA DAME BLANCHE (Boieldieu), recorded 1961, w.Pierre Stoll Cond. l'Opéra-Comique Ensemble; Michel Sénéchal, Adrien Legros, Aimé Doniat, Pierre Heral, etc. (France) 2-Accord 149501, incl. Libretto-Brochure in French. Long out-of-print, Final copy!
“LA DAME BLANCHE was one of the most successful operas in the world when it began life in 1825 at l’Opéra-Comique, Paris. By 1862 it had received 1,000 performances at that house alone. It premiered in London in 1826, and New York in 1827. In 1904 the Met revived it with Johanna Gadski and Franz Naval, conducted by Felix Mottl. Sadly, this genre of French opera has pretty much vanished from our international opera scene and we have lost the charms of Boieldieu and Adam, not to mention the more grandiose Meyerbeer as well."
- Henry Fogel, FANFARE
"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