V0453. IRMA KOLASSI, w.J. Robin (Pf.): Songs by Dalcroze, Martini, Leguerney, Duparc, Fauré, Bizet, Hahn, Messager, de Séverac & Koechlin; 2nd (short) CD features 17 minute Interview with Irma Kolassi. (France) 2-Dante LYS 149/50. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 3421710421492
“An exceptionally fascinating 2 CD set of the Greek mezzo-soprano Irma Kolassi is from LYS (149/150), alas no longer available, but if you stumble on a copy snap it up as there’s some very fine Duparc and Leguerney, not included in her Decca discography.
The singer is not that well known today, so who was Irma Kolassi? She was born in Athens in 1918, and when only a few months old was taken by her parents to live in Paris. French became her first language and, on returning to Greece aged eight, she was educated at a French school. Her musical talents surfaced early and she went to study piano at the Athens Conservatory, achieving a high level of technical proficiency. She took first prize aged fourteen, and completed her diploma two years later, playing Ravel's ‘Gaspard de la nuit’. It was around this time that her vocal gifts were discovered, when she was acting accompanist of Maggie Karadja's singing class. Karadja gave her some lessons and she won another first prize. Vocal studies continued at the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome and, yes, another first prize. When war broke out she returned to Athens, but she soon became disillusioned with opera, so turned to teaching. She tutored Maria Callas in the role of Leonora in Beethoven's FIDELIO. It was after the war that her performing career really took off, and she soon discovered that French song was her forte and an art form in which she excelled. It was in this repertoire that she gained fame. She forged a distinguished career, both in the concert hall and as a recording artist. In the late 1960s she retired and devoted her energies to teaching at the Schola Cantorum in Paris and the Conservatoire de Troyes. She died in Paris in 2012, aged ninety-three.
Lovers of vocal artistry and especially French art song will find much to savour in this compelling release.”
- Stephen Greenbank, MusicWebInternational