OP3020. WERTHER - Excerpts, w.Charles Friant, Germaine Cernay, Roger Bourdin & Henriette Lebard. (England) Vintage 1003. Transfers by Richard Bebb. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 618132100323
"Charles Friant studied and toured with Sarah Bernhardt before he became a singer (he was a mainstay at the Opéra-Comique for 20 years), and it shows; his Werther is dramatically the most effective I know, with every turn and inflection of the music and the words reflected in his clear, lyrical voice....There are modern versions of this opera in better sound [however] this one opens an enlightening and enjoyable window to a valuable past."
- Alexander Morin, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, March/April, 1998
“Germaine Cernay was born Germaine Pointu in Le Havre, studied at the Paris Conservatory with Henri Albers and Émile Engel, making her début at the Opéra-Comique in 1927 in the Paris première of Alfano’s RESURREZIONE, opposite Mary Garden and René Maison. Her Salle Favart roles included Charlotte (WERTHER), Margared (LE ROI D’YS), Mignon, Suzuki (MADAMA BUTTERFLY), and Mallika (LAKMÉ). Outside of France she appeared in Belgium and Switzerland, as well as in North Africa. In 1942 she sang the role of Geneviève in the first complete recording of PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE under the baton of Roger Désormière. Cernay died
prematurely a year later in Paris.”
- Vincent Giroud, Program Notes to Marston's FIREBIRDS OF PARIS
“Cernay made her début at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 16 May 1927 as la Bossue in the Paris premiere of Alfano’s RISURREZIONE (in French). Other creations at the Salle Favart were Floriane in ÉROS VAINQUEUR (de Bréville), la Tour in LE FOU DE LA DAME (Delannoy), a fairy in RIQUET A LA HOUPPE (Hue), and Léonor in LE SICILIEN (Letorey). Her other principal roles at the Opéra-Comique included Sélysette (ARIANE ET BARBE-BLEUE), a sister (BÉATRICE), Gertrude (LE ROI DAGOBERT), la fantôme (LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN), Mallika (LAKMÉ), Javotte (MANON), title role in MIGNON, Souzouki (MADAMA BUTTERFLY), Vincenette/Taven (MIREILLE), Geneviève (PELLÉAS ET MÉLISANDE), Cléone (PÉNÉLOPE), Charlotte (WERTHER) and one of the voices in MASQUES ET BERGAMASQUES. She was invited to many provincial centres in France and also appeared in North Africa, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Ireland and Italy. Broadcasting on French radio allowed Cernay to enlarge her repertoire to roles in CARMEN, LE ROI D’YS, LE CHEMINEAU, LA DAMNATION DE FAUST, DON QUICHOTTE and LA LÉPREUSE. She also sang in the first performance of surviving fragments of Chabrier's VAUCOCHARD ET FILS on 22 April 1941 at the Salle du Conservatoire. Cernay was one of best-known concert altos of her generation and highly considered as a Bach interpreter. She appeared regularly with the Orchestre de la Societé des Concerts du Conservatoire from 1931 to 1942. Her first and last appearances with the orchestra were as alto soloist in the Bach MAGNIFICAT, and in 1936 she sang in two performances of the Mass in b minor. She retired in 1942 to become a nun. A year later she died of status epilepticus."
- Z. D. Akron
"Roger Bourdin studied at the Paris Conservatory, where he was a pupil of André Gresse and Jacques Isnardon. He made his professional début at the Opéra-Comique in 1922, as Lescaut in MANON. His début at the Palais Garnier took place in 1942, in Henri Rabaud's MÂROUF, SAVETIER DU CAIRE. The major part of his career was to be spent between these two theatres, where he created some 30 roles.
Bourdin seldom performed outside France, but did a few guest appearances at the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He also sang in the first performance of surviving fragments of Chabrier's VAUCOCHARD ET FILS IER on 22 April 1941 at the Salle du Conservatoire with Germaine Cernay, conducted by Roger Désormière.
His most memorable roles were: Clavaroche in André Messager's FORTUNIO, Metternich in Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert's L'AIGLON, Duparquet in Reynaldo Hahn's CIBOULETTE, Lheureux in Emmanuel Bondeville's MADAME BOVARY, the lead in Darius Milhaud's BOLIVAR, but also standard roles such as Valentin, Athanael, Onegin, and Sharpless. In all he sang an estimated 100 roles throughout his long career.”
- Ned Ludd