OP0645. CHRISTOPHE COLOMB (Darius Milhaud & Paul Claudel), Live Performance, 31 May, 1958, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, w.Manuel Rosenthal Cond. Radio Lyrique Ensemble; Janine Micheau, Robert Massard, Claudine Collart, Lucien Lovano, Joseph Peyron, Xavier Depraz, etc. (France) 2-Disques Montaigne 8750, Slipcase Edition w. Elaborate 141pp. Libretto-Brochure in French & English. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy!
“A major new cache of French radio material has become available to patrons of specialty classical-music stores. It consists of 10 compact-disk sets, each containing two or three CDs of performances mostly from the 1950s and 6's recorded by the French national radio network at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris. There are some striking performances here, along with one major score never previously available on disks. That is Darius Milhaud's epic opera CHRISTOPHE COLOMB. One of the composer's many collaborations with the poet Paul Claudel, it was first peformed at the Berlin State Opera under Erich Kleiber in 1930, but has been only rarely heard since. Other than its rather convoluted dramatic structure (two parts that cover some of the same ground) and extreme scenic demands, it's difficult to understand why this intensely theatrical, impassioned score has been so neglected (one half was given in San Francisco some 25 years ago, with great success). This French concert performance under Manuel Rosenthal's direction makes a stirring case for the music.”
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 13 March, 1988
“Janine Micheau was a French singer, one of the leading lyric sopranos of her era in France, she was born in Toulouse, and studied voice at the Paris Conservatoire. She made her professional début at the Opéra-Comique on 16 November 1933, as la Plieuse in LOUISE, following this with Loys in JUIF POLONAIS by Camille Erlanger, etc. By 1935 her performances gained her invitations to Marseille (Lakmé), and then (at the instigation of Pierre Monteux) to Amsterdam (Mélisande) and San Francisco. In Buenos Aires, Erich Kleiber conducted her in Sophie in DER ROSENKAVALIER.
She created the role of Creuse in Darius Milhaud's Médée, for her début at the Paris Opéra in 1940, where she also sang Gilda in RIGOLETTO, Violetta in LA TRAVIATA and Sophie in DER ROSENKAVALIER, among other roles.
Once the war was over, her career became more international than it had been; she performed at La Scala in Milan, La Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera House in London, the San Francisco Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. At these venues she sang nearly all the great French soprano roles. From 1961 she became a voice teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Her final performance was as Pamina in Rouen in May 1968. She died in Paris at the age of 62.”
- Zillah Dorset Akron
"Massard made his professional debut 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 debut at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, as Thoas in IPHIGENIE EN TAURIDE. His career rapidly took an international dimension with debuts in 1955, at La Scala and the Glyndebourne Festival, both as Ramiro in L'HEURE ESPAGNOLE. Oreste in IPHIGENIE EN TAURIDE was his debut 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 Colon 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 PELLEAS ET MELISANDE."
- Ned Ludd