V0431. HUGUETTE TOURANGEAU, w.Bonynge Cond.: Arias from Forgotten Operas. (England) Decca 475 6812, recorded 1970. Gatefold Jacket. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 028947568124
“Huguette Tourangeau is a mezzo-soprano who had true ‘coloratura’ abilities during her heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, very much in the manner we call Marilyn Horne a coloratura mezzo. Born in Montréal, on August 12th, 1938, we might call her a protégé of soprano Dame Joan Sutherland and conductor Richard Bonynge as both were very interested in promoting the careers of other highly gifted singers, and with whom Tourangeau toured and recorded with extensively.
Tourangeau studied at the Québec Conservatory and debuted as Cherubino in Mozart's LE NOZZE DI FIGARO at the Stratford Festival in Ontario in 1964. That same year, she was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, which ultimately saw her sing with the Met's touring company. In 1973, Tourangeau made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Nicklausse in Offenbach's THE TALES OF HOFMANN, which took her to other North American opera houses as well as to Europe and Sydney, Australia.
Tourangeau's unusual voice, especially with its lyrical elements, made her especially noteworthy in several operas by Mozart, Bizet (specifically CARMEN), and the operas of Handel, Gluck and others.
Huguette Tourangeau is not well represented on disc in solo recordings, but she has appeared in a number of complete operas on the Decca-London label, usually in the presence of Sutherland and Bonynge. Among her few solo albums is one recently reissued on CD by British Decca [475 6812] in their Classic Recitals series: ARIAS FROM FORGOTTEN OPERAS, recorded in Geneva, Switzerland in 1970 with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Richard Bonynge. What a showcase for this spendid voice! Rare arias by Balfe, Bizet, Donizetti, Auber, Massenet, Verdi, Vaccai and Maillart can be found illustrating the enormous range of the singer. Her lowest tones are reminiscent of a true contralto. Her highest range is extraordinary as well, with only a somewhat pinched sound on the uppermost notes. But if you love rare opera, this will remain a favourite issue for the enthusiast, with spacious, natural sound that was a hallmark of Decca's vocal recordings.
Hearing Huguette Tourangeau is assuredly a vocal treat. It's a pity she didn't make other recordings of art songs, lieder, and standard repertoire operatic arias. It's a voice you won't soon forget!”
- Lance G. Hill, Classical Music Guide, 8 Aug., 2006