V2291. LÉON MELCHISSEDEC: APGA, Berliner, Pathé & Zonophone recordings, 1899-1908, incl. two performances of ‘La Marseillaise’ – Zonophone & Pathé; Arias from Don Giovanni, Ballo, Rigoletto, L’Africaine, Le Caïd, Roméo, Faust, Les Dragons de Villars & Guillaume Tell (the latter being two versions from ‘Une leçon de chant au Conservatoire National de Musique'); FRANCESCO d’ANDRADE: Lyraphon recordings, 1909, incl. Arias from Don Giovanni, Barbiere, La Favorite, Carmen, Rigoletto, Guillaume Tell & Tannhäuser. (Germany) Truesound Transfers 3084. Transfers by Christian Zwarg.
“Léon Melchissédec was a French baritone who enjoyed a long career in the French capital across a broad range of operatic genres, and later made some recordings and also taught at the Paris Conservatoire.
Melchissédec played second violin in the Théâtre de Saint-Étienne before coming to Paris to study. After classes with Alkan, Puget, Mocker and Levasseur at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won a first prize in 1865, he made his début at the Paris Opéra-Comique on 16 July 1866 in Cohen's JOSÉ MARIA. Remaining at the Opéra-Comique until 1877, Melchissédec’s repertoire included LES ABSENTS, LE PREMIER JOUR DE BONHEUR, LALLA-ROUKH, ROBINSON CRUSOÉ, LES DRAGONS DE VILLARS, LE PRÉ AUX CLERCS, FANTASIO, MIREILLE, RICHARD CŒUR DE LION and LE CAÏD. In 1873 he became the first true baritone to sing the title role of ZAMPA (as opposed to a singer of mixed voice).
Melchissédec moved next to the Théâtre-Lyrique, singing in DIMITRI, LE CAPITAINE FRACASSE and the premieres of PAUL ET VIRGINIE and LE TIMBRE D’ARGENT. In 1879 he joined the Paris Opéra, making his début as Nevers in LES HUGUENOTS on 17 November 1879. His repertoire there included GUILLAUME TELL, L'AFRICAINE, LA FAVORITE, RIGOLETTO, FAUST, and he created roles in LE TRIBUT DE ZAMORA, TABARIN and LE CID. Having sang Capulet in the first performance of ROMÉO ET JULIETTE at the Opéra-Comique in 1873, he sang Mercutio when it transferred to the repertory of the Opéra.
Melchissédec left the Opéra in 1891 but rejoined from 1905–12, having become a professor of déclamation lyrique at the Paris Conservatoire in 1894. In 1913, he published a treatise on singing entitled ‘Pour Chanter: ce qu’il faut savoir’.”
“D’Andrade was a student of Miraglia and Roni in Milan. He appeared on all major European stages. He gained special prominence in his role as Don Giovanni, and Bruno Walter considered him the best Don Giovanni he had ever conducted, an interesting point when one remembers that another of Walter’s chosen leads in this part was Ezio Pinza. D’Andrade was nearing 50 when he made these 1907 recordings for Lyrophon, his signature signed into each wax copy.”
- Barry Brenesal, FANFARE
“These recent transfers have been an absolute revelation to me….Amazingly, Christian Zwarg has managed to unlock the sound of these recordings in such a way as to present [voices] such as I have never heard before. Here the sound has a sheen and glow which is quite beautiful. It is as if an old masterpiece painting has been cleaned and restored, allowing rays of brilliant light to emerge….”
- Davyd Booth, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2012