V1700. FIREBIRDS OF PARIS, French & Belgian singers in Russian Opera & Song, incl. Vanni-Marcoux, d’Arkor, Vallin, Thill, Mertens, Friant, Noréna, Nougaro, Boons, Cernay, Aquistapace, Huberty, Bordon, Pernet, Audiger, Jouatte, Soix, Doria & Souzay. Marston 51008. Transfers by Ward Marston. Program notes by Vincent Giroud. Produced by Lewis Morris Hall. - 638335206127
“The French connection was a strong factor in Russian cultural history throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and it would not be surprising to find associations between two national schools of singing. In this collection, the sopranos, with Ninon Vallin as the best and best-known example, bear many similarities to the typical Russian in a comparable repertoire: both schools aim at brightness and clarity. The other immediately striking feature of the disc is that so many of its singers are unfamiliar to us, even as names. Fred Bordon, Pierre Nougaro, Claudine Boons, François Audiger: all, I must confess, are new to me. Of these, Bordon seems particularly interesting: his recording of Boris’ monologue is both well sung and vividly characterised. Of the others, Vanni-Marcoux (in the Coronation Scene) impresses with the personal quality that marks everything he did. André Pernet’s 'Clock' scene is quite wonderful, the voice (and such a beautiful one) infused with pain and horror. Jean Aquistapace is also remarkably successful in making the drama live within the constraints of recording out of context and outside the live theatre.
Transfers are clear. Booklet annotation, with a photograph of each singer, is quite exceptionally good.”
– John Steane, CLASSICAL RECORDINGS QUARTERLY, Autumn, 2010
"In 1907, Sergei Diaghilev changed the musical landscape of Europe by introducing Russian music to Paris. Diaghilev’s Cinq Concerts Historique Russes (Five Historic Russian Concerts) was a remarkable cultural experience that left Paris hungering for Russian arts. He introduced Paris to Mussorgsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Balakirev, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff. As with many newly-introduced art forms, the French wanted to make Russian music their own. In a relatively short time, many of the greatest French-language singers were performing Russian repertoire in French. Firebirds of Paris is a single CD devoted to these artists such as Vanni-Marcoux, André D’Arkor, Ninon Vallin, and Georges Thill. The set also includes many rare recordings of some lesser-known, though accomplished artists. The concept of Firebirds in Paris was first presented as a program for the Vocal Record Collectors’ Society in 1999 by Lewis Morris Hall, the producer of this compilation."
-Zillah Dorset Akron