Jean Emile Vanni-Marcoux       (6-Marston 56001)
Item# V1807
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Jean Emile Vanni-Marcoux       (6-Marston 56001)
V1807. VANNI-MARCOUX: The Complete Vanni-Marcoux. 6-Marston 56001, recorded 1924-55 (including the 1955 recital of Delmet songs accompanied by Irène Aïtoff). 6-Marston 56001. Transfers by Ward Marston. Booklet notes by Vincent Giroud. Final Copy! - 638335206127


“Vanni-Marcoux was one of the giants of what can fairly be described as the golden age of French singing. He enjoyed a huge career in opera and concerts, from 1894 when he made his debut in Turin, to 1938…. Almost the entire recorded oeuvre of Vanni-Marcoux dates from the period 1924-34. Bizarrely, the exception was an HMV LP entirely devoted to the songs of Paul Delmet. It was recorded in 1955, some 17 years after he ceased to perform in opera and concert. The artistry is still there, but hardly surprisingly, the voice is clearly that of an old man…. the performances from BORIS GODUNOV, PÉLLEAS ET MÉLISANDE and DON QUICHOTTE are surely amongst the greatest recordings ever made of the repertoire concerned. The inclusion of BORIS GODUNOV may occasion some lifting of eyebrows. Conventional wisdom is that of Golden Age singers, Chaliapin was without equal as an interpreter of this work. The article by Vincent Giroud, in the lavishly illustrated booklet which accompanies this set, discusses the respective interpretations of Chaliapin and Vanni-Marcoux. The former had a unique histrionic ability demonstrated in virtually all his recorded output. Vanni-Marcoux is a much quieter and introspective Boris and has the advantage of a diction in which every single word is clear. The styles could not be more different, but for those anxious to build up a cross section of great performances both are essential…. And yet amongst all these wonderful operatic items my favourite remains the wonderful record of King Philip’s aria from DON CARLOS. Sung in the deepest sorrow.

We mostly listen to recordings for pleasure, but we should always remember that they are a key part of our cultural legacy. Complete issues such as the Vanni-Marcoux keep that legacy alive – Ward Marston and all those who made this one possible deserve our commendation and support.”


"[Vanni-Marcoux's] voice and diction were considered by many to be the epitome of the French language. He compensated for lack of raw vocal power with impressive control over an unusually broad range, perfect musical manners and inexhaustible dramatic resource.”

- C.J. Luten, OPERA NEWS, Feb., 1996

“Vanni-Marcoux is generally regarded as a ‘singing actor’ or ‘an actor who sang’ (Scott). It is an instrument of rather a dry quality, but its color is characteristically French. His enunciation is a model of literal quality of the French language. His voice sounds very little like a bass, sounding high even when well down on the bass stave. It is because of this brightness, that the voice presents a much younger character than most basses, and it is remarkable to hear a King Philip, performed with almost a tenoral timbre.

Another great record is the death scene of Boris; I will always return to Vanni-Marcoux’s rendition. He gives a truly touching portrait of the dying Boris, neither sentimental nor exaggerated, but with fine and almost tender expression. Vanni-Marcoux’s recordings of Monna Vanna, Pelléas et Mélisande and Don Quichotte (La Mort de Don Quichotte) show this highly interesting artist as his best.”

- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile

"Vanni-Marcoux’s career in opera roughly-spanned the first half of the last century. Marcoux made his début as Wagner in Gounod's FAUST in Bayonne in 1900; was a guest at Covent Garden every year between 1905 and 1912; created the rôles of Guido Colonna (MONNA VANNA) and Panurge; performed with the Boston Opera, Chicago Opera, the Colón, and La Scala; appeared in film; and ended his career as the director of the Opera in Bordeaux. His recording career began late (1924), yet Marcoux made approximately 120 sides, leaving a legacy that is well-loved by many and is highly sought-after. His voice is rich and expressive and his diction is near perfect, which alludes to his reputation as a great actor. On this set, Vanni-Marcoux is represeted in opera (Boris Godounov, Monna Vanna, Panurge, Bohème, Jongleur, Don Quichotte, Pelléas, and others); songs include ‘Voi dormite, signora’,’Soupir’, ‘Plaisir d’amour’, ‘Ninon’, ‘Prière’, and others); and Vanni-Marcoux sings Delmet’s’Nouvelle chansons’."

- Z. D. Akron