OP1203. PELLÉAS ET MELISANDE, Live Performance, 13 Jan., 1945, w.Cooper Cond. Met Opera Ensemble; Martial Singher, Bidú Sayão, Lawrence Tibbett, Alexander Kipnis, Margaret Harshaw, etc., featuring Milton Cross' Broadcast Commentary. (England) 2-Naxos 8.110030/31. Transfers by Richard Caniell. Very long out-of-print, Final copy! - 636943103029
"How deftly speech falls from Singher's lips!....Singher can brush a key phrase with legato, and suddenly Debussy's speech becomes loaded with emotive power. The timbre is as pointed and glistening as the stalactites in the caves that Maeterlinck's characters so often frequent."
- Paul Jackson, SATURDAY AFTERNOONS AT THE OLD MET, p.374
“Martial Singher, a French baritone, made his Metropolitan Opera début in 1943. He made his début at the Paris Opéra in 1930 and soon became a principal baritone with the company. After 11 seasons with the Paris Opéra he enjoyed many guest appearances in Europe and South America. In more than 100 opera roles and in recitals with leading orchestras, he eschewed showmanship and histrionics and stressed smoothness, subtlety and clarity. He was particularly celebrated for the lean, elegant phrasing of his native French repertory.
Of his Met début as Dapertutto in LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, Virgil Thomson in THE NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE reported Mr. Singher ‘gave a stage performance of incomparable elegance and did a piece of singing that for perfection of vocal style had not been equaled since Kirsten Flagstad went away’.
Several weeks later at the Met Singher sang his first Pelléas. Mr. Thomson found him ’the glory of the evening, vocally impeccable and dramatically superb’. Olin Downes of THE NEW YORK TIMES hailed the baritone as ‘a fine and experienced artist, an authoritative actor, one firmly grounded in the traditions of his language and stage action and a potent element of the occasion’.
The baritone remained with the Met until 1959, when a severe heart disorder forced him to shift to teaching. He taught at the Mannes College of Music in Manhattan, the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and, as director of the voice and opera department, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara (1962 to 1981), where he also produced operas. He was also an artist in residence at University of California at Santa Barbara.”
- Peter B. Flint, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 March, 1990
“Lawrence Tibbett, to my taste the greatest operatic baritone America has ever produced. His enormous charm is complemented by fabulous diction - he's one of the very few ‘classical’ singers whose every word is clearly understandable.”
- Jeffrey Lipscomb