OP1891. MADAMA BUTTERFLY (in French), Broadcast Performance, 1959, w.Gressier Cond. Radio-Lyrique Ensemble; Lyne Cumia, Albert Lance, Gabriel Bacquier, etc. (France) 2-Malibran 715. Final Copy! - 7600003777126
“The Australian tenor Albert Lance was lucky enough to be the right man at the right place at the right time. He happened to be in Paris in the mid 1950s furthering his vocal training when the Paris Opéra needed a new principal tenor following the retirement of the legendary Georges Thill, who had been France’s ‘national’ tenor for many years. Lance’s voice was so suited to the French repertoire that he became the principal tenor at both the Opéra-Comique and the Palais Garnier and replaced Thill as the leading French tenor for the next two decades….[He was] chosen to sing in the most prestigious events, one of which happened to be Maria Callas’ Paris début in a Gala for the Légion d’Honneur in 1958.”
- Tony Locantro, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2015
“[Lance's voice] was firm and strong…He possessed a voice of a very bright acceptable timbre, and technically he is able to maintain an excellent legato, sing long-breathed phrases and produce stunning high B flats and secure ringing top Cs…”
- Alan Bilgora, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2013
“Albert Lance was an Australian tenor who also enjoyed French citizenship. He was Australia's principal tenor during the 1950s and later enjoyed a highly successful career in France. He was born in Menindee, South Australia as Lancelot Albert Ingram, but was usually known as Lance Ingram. After an audition at the Melbourne Opera, he was immediately offered a contract. He made his début there, as Cavaradossi in TOSCA, in 1950, and went on to sing Rodolfo in LA BOHÈME, and Pinkerton in MADAMA BUTTERFLY, to considerable acclaim.
Having changed his professional name from Lance Ingram to Albert Lance, he made his Paris début at the Opéra-Comique in 1955, as Cavaradossi. The following year, he made his début at the Palais Garnier, in the title role in FAUST, and the success was immediate. He quickly established himself as one of the leading ‘French' tenors of the time, at both the Opéra-Comique and the Opéra until 1972, singing the great French roles such as Roméo, des Grieux in MANON, Werther, Don José, etc. He was also invited to perform at the opera houses of Lyon, Bordeaux, and Marseille, as well as London, Vienna, Moscow, Leningrad, and Buenos Aires. Lance was also much appreciated in the Italian repertory, adding to his repertory the lead tenor roles in RIGOLETTO, LA TRAVIATA, CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, PAGLIACCI and others.
Lance made his American début at the San Francisco Opera in 1961, in the creation of Norman Dello Joio's BLOOD MOON. He also appeared in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Lance became a permanent member of the Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg from 1973 until his retirement in 1977. After his retirement from the stage, Lance turned to full-time teaching, first at the Music Conservatory of Nice, and later Antibes. Lance became a French citizen in 1967.
Lance left a few recordings, notably a complete WERTHER made in 1964, with Rita Gorr, Mady Mesplé, Gabriel Bacquier, conducted by Jésus Etcheverry. There is also a complete MADAMA BUTTERFLY (in French) from the Opéra Comique de Paris conducted Albert Wolff from 1957 with Lance as Pinkerton, and scenes from HÉRODIADE conducted by Georges Prêtre from 1963 with Lance as Jean alongside the Salomé of Régine Crespin and Hérodiade of Rita Gorr.
EMI has published the kinescope of the 1958 Paris debut of Maria Callas, ‘La Grande Nuit de l'Opéra’, in which Lance appeared, on DVD. He is heard in an excerpt from IL TROVATORE, and is seen in a staged Act II of TOSCA, opposite Callas and Tito Gobbi, conducted by Georges Sébastian. In March 2011, the French opera community announced that Lance would be the first Australian to be the President of the Paris Opera Jubilee.”
- Zillah Dorset Akron
“Gabriel Bacquier was a leading twentieth century baritone, especially in roles in his native French. He was noted for his sophisticated and natural acting style, his smooth, warm voice, and his remarkable endurance. His studies at the Paris Conservatoire were unusually successful: he won three first prizes in student voice competitions there. As a result he quickly obtained a regular operatic job, joining the Compagnie Lyrique in 1950. From this privately owned opera company, he moved in 1952 to join the company of La Monnaie, the main opera house in Brussels. He returned to Paris in 1955 to join the Opéra-Comique in 1956. Two years later he joined the Opéra de Paris, débuting there as Germont, Sr., in LA TRAVIATA.
He gained a reputation as a serious, reliable singer, willing and able to take both comic and serious roles, and parts ranging from supporting characters to leads. Although he had a wide range, he was especially effective in the more lyric baritone parts and was one of the leading Mozart singers of his generation, yet he was able convincingly to sing such dramatic parts as Simon Boccanegra and Boris Godunov.
He began to make appearances abroad in the 1960s, particularly in England, where he débuted as the Count in Mozart's MARRIAGE OF FIGARO in 1962 and as Riccardo in Bellini's I PURITANI in 1964. The same year he first sang at the Metropolitan in New York, where he also became a favorite performer, frequently appearing on the national Saturday broadcasts.
In his fifties, Bacquier notably improved, gaining power and expressivity in his voice. At the same time he refined his acting technique, becoming known for avoiding the stock operatic gestures meant to portray villainy, or the buffoonery used in comic roles. His characters thus had a quality of realism that made their evil, heroism, wit, or foolishness seem natural and thus more effective. This particularly showed itself in his four, differentiated portrayals in the ‘adversary’ roles of Offenbach's LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN.
In addition to his Mozart roles (especially the Count), his ‘signature rôle’ was that of Scarpia in TOSCA, which he played with suave, even charming, external manners that made his underlying evil even more frightening. He was the leading baritone for French opera and for Italian operas written originally in French, such as Rossini's GUILLAUME TELL and Meyerbeer's LES HUGUENOTS.
He was also a fine interpreter of French chanson in recital, particularly the songs of Satie, Ravel, and de Severac. In the 1990s, when he was in his seventies, he scored a notable success as the King of Clubs in the Lyons Opera's French production of Prokofiev's LOVE OF THREE ORANGES under the baton of Kent Nagano, a production also made into a highly acclaimed recording.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com