OP3162. OBERON (in French), Live Performance, 1955, w.Cluytens Cond. l'Opéra Ensemble; Constantina Araujo, Rita Gorr, Martha Angelici, Georges Noré, Raphael Romagnoni, Alain Vanzo, etc., replete with broadcast announcements; OBERON - several historical recordings of arias by Gabriella Gatti, Goltz, Austral & Roswaenge. (France) 3-Malibran 790. - 7600003777904
"In 1955, the role of Huon was taken with all the valor required by Georges Noré, a French tenor unjustly forgotten today, even though Sir Thomas Beecham choose him for the title role of FAUST, recorded in 1947. Although seen as the successor to Thill, in 1960 he took a somewhat premature retirement. A complete discovery with the Brazilian soprano Constantina Araujo; the world hardly had time to enjoy her beautiful voice, as this singer born in 1922 died in 1966 to pulmonary embolism, fortunately having had time to sing Aida at La Scala in 1951 (with Mario Del Monaco) and then to Paris in 1954 between two representations of OBERON. Rita Gorr was Puck, [luxury casting] in this fairly small role. Martha Angelici appeared as Naiad and Alain Vanzo made his l'Opéra debut as a pirate.
Fortunately there is the conducting of André Cluytens who would soon afterward be invited to Bayreuth and, unfortunately, become less available to the Paris Opéra.
As a bonus on the third disc we have the first air Huon by a masterful Helge Rosvaenge,the exotic prayer of Rezia in Italian, and both versions of the 'Ozean' in English from the 1920s by the Australian Wagnerian Florence Austral, and in German by resplendent Christel Goltz."
- Laurent Bury, Operaforum.com, 21 December 2015
"Constantina Araujo was a Brazilian spinto soprano who studied classical singing with Professor Murino at the Dramatic and Musical Conservatory. She began her musical career in the former Radio Gazeta station that had an auditorium where complete operas were performed in concert form.
Araujo debuted in 1947 at the Teatro Municipal, singing Leonora in the IL TROVATORE. In Porto Alegre she sang in Verdi's OTELLO, IL TROVATORE and Aï¿½DA. She went to Europe in 1950 and forty days after arriving sang as a replacement at the last minute, as Aida, the beginning of her European career, notably in Italy. Constantina Araujo sang in Bari, Verona, London, Trieste, Monte Carlo, Paris, Augsburg, and other cities. Her repertoire consisted of Aida and was noted in UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, I VESPRI SICILIANI, ERNANI, MEFISTOFELE, MADAMA BUTTERFLY, L'AMORE DEI TRE RE, OBERON and CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA."
- Zillah Dorset Akron
"...Vanzo combines all the elements of bel canto, whatever the selection. A seamless legato is joined with a technique that produces a beautiful, effortless sound....Vanzo's voice caresses the music and demonstrates elegance."
- Bob Rose, FANFARE, Nov./Dec., 2005
"Alain Vanzo made his debut at l'Opéra and the Opéra-Comique in 1957, going on to sing the Duke of Mantua in 1957. He became known and respected as a lyrical tenor and graduated towards a more robust tenor, culminating in his taking on Werther at age 40 and Don José at age 45! By the time he reached the age of 48, on 20 April, 1965, he sang with Montserrat Caballé (her American debut) in a concert performance in Donizetti's LUCREZIA BORGIA at Carnegie Hall. Finally, after his 1976 performances of FAUST in the US, he had become a star.
In 1985, at age 57, [Vanzo] starred in the Paris Opéra's historic revival of Meyerbeer's ROBERT LE DIABLE which the company had not staged for some 90 years. Mady Mesplé, the soprano and a frequent vocal partner, told Le Monde that 'with [Vanzo's passing in 2002] a whole page of French lyric history has vanished."
- Anne Midgette, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 24 Feb. 2002
"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 Bohï¿½me, in 1936. She made her dï¿½but at the Opï¿½ra-Comique in 1938, where she had a long and successful career, and made her dï¿½but at the Palais Garnier in 1953, as Micaï¿½la 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 Opï¿½ra-Comique, Franï¿½ois Agostini."
-Zillah Dorset Akron
"One of the greatest singers to emerge on the international opera scene in the 1950's, Gorr was an artist of intensity and versatility whose penetrating, powerful mezzo-soprano and scalding dramatic temperament made her an incomparable Dalila, a magisterial Amneris and a singularly convincing Mère Marie in DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES, which she sang in the Paris premiere of Poulenc's opera in 1957. Her voice was not to every taste - some found her timbre metallic and her upper range narrow - but few would deny that Rita Gorr had a grandeur and command of the stage unequaled in her generation. Gorr sang with the daring and shrewd sense of her own worth that recalled the divas of a previous golden age: critics reaching for superlatives most often compared Gorr to Marie Delna and Jeanne Gerville-Réache, two nonpareil French contraltos of the Belle Epoque.
Gorr's international reputation began with her appearances at the 1958 Bayreuth Festival as Fricka in DAS RHEINGOLD (her festival debut) and DIE WALKURE and the Third Norn in GOTTERAMMERUNG. The following year, Gorr returned to Bayreuth as Ortrud and bowed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Amneris. La Scala welcomed her in 1960 as Kundry. Other European engagements for Gorr included appearances in Vienna, Rome, Bordeaux, Lyon, Orange, Geneva, Brussels, Ghent, Stuttgart, Barcelona and Lisbon.
She made impressive back-to-back debuts in autumn 1962 at the Metropolitan Opera, as Amneris to Leontyne Price's Aida on 17 October, followed by Dalila in the Lyric Opera of Chicago company premiere of SAMSON ET DALILA on 10 November - an assignment Gorr took over on short notice when Giulietta Simionato proved unwilling to re-learn in French a role she knew only in Italian. Gorr's New York appearances were relatively infrequent, despite the extravagant admiration of the local critics. She sang just forty-one performances of six roles during her five seasons on the Met roster - Amneris, Waltraute, Eboli, Azucena, Santuzza and Dalila, the latter in a new Met production of Saint-Saens' opera in 1964, opposite Jess Thomas and Gabriel Bacquier. Gorr also appeared in several memorable concert performances of Massenet works at Carnegie Hall, including Anita in LA NAVARRAISE (1963) and Charlotte to Nicolai Gedda's Werther (1965), both presented by the Friends of French Opera, and the title role in HERODIADE for the American Opera Society (1964), with Régine Crespin as Salome. In 1992, she sang Neris in a concert of Cherubini's MEDEE with Boston Festival Opera. Gorr's last notable U.S. opera house appearance was in 1990, as Madame de Croissy in Seattle Opera's DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES, a characterization she repeated in several subsequent stagings, including Robert Carsen's memorable 1997 production for the Netherlands Opera, and on Kent Nagano's 1990 recording with the Opéra de Lyon (Virgin). Gorr sang opera for more than fifty years. Her last opera performances were in summer 2007, when she was eighty-one, in THE QUEEN OF SPADES for Vlaamse Opera. She died after a long illness."
- F. Paul Driscoll, OPERA NEWS, 23 Jan., 2012
“Raphael Romagnoni, who in the course of a long career would become one of those 'essential tenors' who are regarded as 'pillars' of our Parisian opera houses, made his début at the Grand Théâtre in 1931 in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA. His beautiful voice with its generous top notes lead to many engagements in the provinces and North Africa until World War II. In his first year at the Opéra, he sang Roméo, the Duke of Mantua, Mylio and Faust, a role that he performed with great success for several years. There followed the creations at the Palais Garnier of JEANNE d’ARC AU BUCHER in which he sang the rôle of Bishop Cauchon in all 93 performances with Claude Nollier and six times with Ingrid Bergman (Jeanne), and successively with Jean Vilar, Henry Doublier and Robert Vidalin (Frère Dominique). Later would come LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN in which he sang the title role and, at the end of his career, Spalanzani. He made his début at the Salle Favart in 1947 where he sang Don José, Des Grieux, Werther, Gérald, Hoffmann, Nadir, Pinkerton, Turiddu and Rodolfo in LA BOHEME and Alfredo in LA TRAVIATA. At the same time as his Parisian activities, he toured the big provincial towns and also abroad."
- Jean Ziegler
“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