Meyerbeer on Record, Vol. I        (3-Marston 53009)
Item# V1569
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Meyerbeer on Record, Vol. I        (3-Marston 53009)
V1569. MEYERBEER ON RECORD, Vol.I, incl. Excerpts from ROBERT LE DIABLE, LES HUGUENOTS & LE PROPHÈTE, w.Suzanne Adams, Agustarello Affre, Charlotte Agussol, Berthe Auguez de Montalant, Paul Aumonier, Suzanne Brohly, Edmond Clément, Mario Corpait, Jean-François Delmas, Emmy Destinn, Léon Escalaïs, Jules Gautier, Georges Granal, Frieda Hempel, Hermann Jadlowker, Marcel Journet, Lily Dupré, Armida Parsi-Pettinella, Lise Landouzy, André Gresse, Marie Lafargue, Mario Ancona, Pierre d'Assy, Antoinette Laute-Brun, Jean Vallier, Leo Slezak, Blanche Deschamps-Jehin, Albert Alvarez, Margarethe Matzenauer, Ottilie Metzger, Melanie Kurt, Juste Nivette, Pol Plançon, Margarethe Ober, Hermine Kittel, Elise Elizza, Erik Schmedes, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Gaston Dubois, Marie Charbonnel, Amélie Talexis, Mario Gilion, Paul Payan, Edmond Tirmont, Lilli Lehman, Albert Vaguet, Eugenia Mantelli, Émile-Frantz Sardet, Lilli Lehmann, Margarethe Siems, Antonio Paoli, Henri Weber, Marthe Bakkers, Gaston de Poumayrac, Dimitri Smirnov, Léonie Tanésy & Pierre Monteux (Viola solo). 3-Marston 53009, recorded 1899-1913. Transfers by Ward Marston. Elaborate 63pp profusely illustrated Booklet w.Biographical Notes by Vincent Giroud. - 638335300924


“These CDs offer a major insight into the cult of Meyerbeer during much of the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century. The spectacle of the grandest of grand opera was an important adjunct, but above all Meyerbeer was a superb musician….Where might we find an equivalent to the French group of singers prominently featured in this album, to say nothing of the more widely known international artists particularly featured on the last of the three CDs? Ward Marston’s concept is to feature, preferably in the original French, one version of each aria or passage recorded during the acoustic era, when the Meyerbeer performing tradition was still very much alive. These account for 49 tracks on the CDs – nearly all in French by French singers….The 64-page booklet contains biographies with photographs of all the singers. It was indeed a golden age of French singing and there is no better illustration than the bass voice. Whilst Pol Plançon and Marcel Journet enjoyed major careers at Covent Garden and the Metropolitan, Paul Aumonier, Jean-François Delmas, Juste Nivette and Paul Payan based most of their careers in France. In this case comparisons are almost superfluous but I would particularly recommend the sonorous voice of Aumonier – one of the finest Meyerbeer interpreters. Amongst French tenors of the period Agustarello Affre, Albert Alvarez and Léon Escalaïs will need no introduction to record collectors. Affre enjoyed a major career and left a huge recorded legacy of which there are several examples in this set. He and Antoinette Laute-Brun give one of the most satisfying performances of the long duet between Raoul and Valentine at the end of Act 4 of Les huguenots.…Amuch less well-known tenor also deserves mention. Georges Granal offers a superb mellifluous performance in its original key of Raoul’s ‘Plus blanche’….Margarethe Siems [appears] in a majestic version of Marguerite’s aria from Les huguenots. Interestingly there is also a tantalising passage from that latter aria recorded live from the Metropolitan opera on a Mapleson cylinder in 1902. Marston attributes this to Suzanne Adams, although other authorities claim it to be Nellie Melba. Judging by the applause, the vocal pyrotechnics literally and justifiably brought down the house. No commercial records of either Adams or Melba have quite the same impact. Finally the contraltos, for whom the rôleof Fidès in Le prophète must have been amongst the most rewarding in operatic literature. No fewer than seven different artists sing excerpts from her rôle in the main section of the compendium, with one more in the appendix. Four of the eight sing in German, a reminder of the strong place of Meyerbeer’s works in the opera houses of Germany in the nineteenth century. Amongst the French artists, Blanche Deschamps-Jehin, whose career was almost entirely in France, is particularly moving in ‘Ah, mon fils’ – a big rich voice. In the climactic Prison Scene, Ernestine Schumann-Heink is surely unrivalled: alternatively gentle and powerful, and singing in the original French. All told a magnificent set!”


“…this is a comprehensive collection of historic performances which demonstrate how Meyerbeer was sung during the first quarter of the 20th Century, principally in France but also in Germany and Austria….including some great rarities which will give great pleasure of singing….The transfer of the original recordings was accomplished with great skill so that the clarity of sound is revelatory.”

- Robert Bunyard, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2010

“Giacomo Meyerbeer was one of the most important composers in Paris during the mid-1800s. He is considered the founder of the French Grand Opera and his works dominated the French stage. Meyerbeer changed the face of opera in Paris, and yet, much criticism is directed toward him and much of his music is seldom heard today. This 3-CD set is the first of two volumes, which together will honor Meyerbeer and reacquaint the listener with his marvelous music and some very interesting singing. These two volumes will contain at least one version of every recorded Meyerbeer excerpt sung by French singers. They include cylinders and discs from the earliest days of recorded sound and continue through the 1930s. This compilation is not only an interesting way of organizing important and lovely French singing but gives a rare and extensive look into this style of singing. Volume one will feature recordings from Meyerbeer's first three operas written for Paris: Robert Le Diable, Les Huguenots, and Le Prophète.”

- Z. D. Akron