V2002. HÉROS DE MASSENET, incl. José Luccioni, Carlo Ciabrini, Miguel Villabella, Louis Cazette, César Vezzani, Georges Thill, José de Trévi, Charles Friant, Étienne Billot, Léon Campagnola, Ernest Blanc, Émile Scaramberg, Adrien Legros, Alain Vanzo, Charles Fontaine, Léonce Escalaïs, Vanni-Marcoux, Charles Cambon, Paul Cabanel, Marcel Journet & Ginès Sirera. (France) Malibran 750. [Sheer enchantment in these marvelous displays of the now extinct French style.] - 7600003777508
“[Vocal] technique [among these artists] is generally splendid, musicality often sublime. What proves most rewarding, however, is textual communication. It’s not a matter of mere intelligibility…the words are coloured with a specificity giving phrase after phrase extraordinary immediacy. Typical are monologues from HÉRODIADE for Salomé (Maryse Beaujon, a vibrant soprano who can make her character’s anguish clear just by leaning on the consonants of the word ‘souffrance’) and Hérode (the vocally effulgent Ernest Blanc, projecting a deep sense of longing as he implores, ‘Ne t’enfuis pas, douce illusion’).
Massenet’s better-known characters are represented, as are those much less familiar. Among the latter are noble Griséledis (Charlotte Tirard, heart-stoppingly lovely) and Alain, the shepherd who loves her (Miguel Villabella, shining-voiced and exultant; Louis Cazette, with a haunting, seemingly innate melancholy in his timbre). Even more off-the-beaten-track are episodes from ROMA (enlivened by Charles Fontaine, a superb spinto tenor), ARIANE, PANURGE, and LE MAGE.
Besides Friant, Villabella and Cazette, Massenet’s always-grateful writing for lyric tenor is savoured most memorably by Alain Vanzo (magical in des Grieux’s ‘Dream’…and an artist in the Vanzo mould, Ginès Sirera (entrancingly fresh-voiced as Jean, the youthful Provençal in SAPHO). But Massenet rôles also give major opportunities to weightier tenors, as in LE CID, LE MAGE (Léonce-Antoine Escalaïs, all trumpet-like sound and incisive textual shaping), and HÉRODIADE (Léon Campagnola, exhibiting genuine squillo and sustaining his aria’s final top A for 15 seconds).
The baritone Charles Cambon (LE ROI DE LAHORE) stands out among the lower-voiced men, his astonishing vocal opulence – unsurpassed among his countrymen before or since – in no way interfering with honest, unfettered textual delivery. Two other baritones, Paul Cabanel (THAÏS) and Blanc, prove nearly as satisfying. Among the basses, Adrien Legros has the dignity oif Des Grieux, and Étienne Billot skilfully reduces his rich, ripe sound to achieve an exquisite intimacy in Boniface’s ‘Légende de la Sauge’. True to form are Vanni-Marcoux…and the ever-imposing Marcel Journet….”
- Roger Pines, OPERA, Jan., 2013