OP3115. LE ROSSIGNOL (Stravinsky), w.Cluytens Cond. NDRF Ensemble; Janine Micheau, Geneviève Moizan, Jean Giraudeau, Lucien Lovano, Michel Roux, etc.; Cluytens Cond. MARTHA ANGELICI: Quatre Poèmes Hindous; Trois Chants de la Jungle - Berceuse Phoque (both Delage). (Austria) Testament SBT 1135, recorded 1956/’51, resp., w.38pp. Libretto-Brochure. - 749677113520
"Stravinsky's short, charming opera LE ROSSIGNOL is rarely performed or recorded. THE NIGHTINGALE (Le rossignol) is a Russian conte lyrique in three acts by Igor Stravinsky. The libretto, based on the tale of THE NIGHTINGALE by Hans Christian Andersen, was written by the composer and Stepan Mitussov. It was first performed on 26 May 1914 by the Ballets Russes at the Palais Garnier in Paris.
Stravinsky had begun work on the opera in 1908, but put it aside for several years after he had received the commission from Sergei Diaghilev for the ballet THE FIREBIRD. He completed it in 1914, after he had completed his other two major ballets for Diaghilev, PETRUSHKA and THE RITE OF SPRING. Because the time between the writing of the first and second acts extended over six years, stylistically the work reflects Stravinsky's significantly changed approach to composition, and this can clearly be detected when performances are given. Stravinsky subsequently turned aside from large productions to concentrate on chamber music and the piano.
For the opera's premiere, the singers were in the pit and their roles were mimed and danced on stage. The mise-en-scène was by Alexandre Benois (who also designed the sets and costumes) and Alexandre Sanine, and the choreography by Boris Romanov. Stravinsky later prepared a symphonic poem, LE CHANT DU ROSSIGNOL (The Song of the Nightingale), using music from the opera, in 1917, as a separate concert work.
This disc featuring André Cluytens, back in print after a long hiatus, presents the work's first ever commercial recording, made in mono in 1955.”
- Hans Lick
“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
"Martha Angelici was a French operatic soprano of Corsican origin, particularly associated with the French lyric repertoire. While still very young she moved with her family to Belgium, where she studied voice in Brussels with Alfred Mahy. She began singing for the Belgian, Dutch and Luxemburg radio in 1933, and gave her first public concert at the Kurzaal of Ostend in 1934. Her first stage performance was in Marseille, as Mimi in La Bohème, in 1936. She made her début at the Opéra-Comique in 1938, where she had a long and successful career, and made her début at the Palais Garnier in 1953, as Micaëla in Carmen, other notable roles included Leila, Pamina, Nedda, etc. She made a few guest appearances at the Monte Carlo Opera and La Monnaie in Brussels. She was also much admired in French baroque music notably in Rameau's Les Indes Galantes, and was much loved as a concert singer, especially of Corsican songs. She was married to the director of the Opéra-Comique, François Agostini."
-Zillah Dorset Akron
“Geneviève Moizan entered the Conservatoire de Paris in 1942, and upon graduation in 1946 she won first prize in the Saint Sulpice competition. She débuted at the Paris Opéra in 1949 as Marguérite in FAUST (with Noré and André Pernet), moving on to a vast repertoire. She often appeared in Monte Carlo, Geneva, Strasbourg, Brussels, Algiers, etc. It was, however, her collaboration with the ORTF which gained her the essential part of her national popularity for almost twenty-five years.
With its clear timbre, her lyric soprano was equally acclaimed in both dramatic and mezzo-soprano rôles: Werther, Sapho, Le Roi d'Ys, Mignon, Il Trovatore, etc.”
- Zillah D. Akron
“André Cluytens was among the leading French conductors of his time. His father, Alphonse, was conductor at the Royal French Theater of Antwerp. André became his assistant and a choirmaster there. When an illness prevented Alphonse from conducting, André made his performance début in 1927. After that experience he devoted his efforts to orchestral and opera conducting rather than choral work, and he became a resident conductor in the house.
In 1932 he accepted a position as the musical director of orchestral concerts at the Capitole de Toulouse, and he became a French citizen. In 1935 was appointed the opera director in Lyons. He was an assistant of Josef Krips in a summer series in Vichy and, once again, was called on to substitute when that conductor could not perform. He became musical director of the Lyons Opera in 1942, conductor of the Conservatoire Concerts and the French National Radio Orchestra in Paris in 1943, and in 1944 conducted at the Opéra de Paris. From 1947 to 1953 he was music director of the Paris Opéra-Comique, and in 1949 was appointed as principal conductor of the Conservatory Concerts. He retained that position for the rest of his life. In 1955 he was invited to conduct LOHENGRIN at the Bayreuth Festival, the first French person to appear on the podium there. He débuted in the United States in 1956, and in Britain in 1958, when he substituted for Otto Klemperer. He formed a close relationship with the Vienna State Opera, which he first conducted in 1956, becoming a permanent guest conductor in 1959. In 1960 he became conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra in Belgium, also holding that post until his death. He also formed a close link with the Berlin Philharmonic, with which he made a notable recording of the Beethoven symphonies. However, he was primarily known for French repertoire, premiering works by Françaix, Jolivet, Messiaen, Milhaud, Tomasi, Büsser, and Bondeville. He was invited back to Bayreuth in 1965.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com