V2521. NINON VALLIN: Songs by Roesgen-Champion [Acc.by the Composer], Hahn, Gounod, Gretchaninov, Rachmaninoff & Camille Robert [incl. his popular WW I 'Madelon']; Arias from Nozze, Manon, Carmen & La Fille du Régiment; w.René Le Roy (Flute) & Pierre Jamet (Harp): Mélodies populaires du Pérou. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-277, recorded 1934-43, all Pathé. Transfers by Yves St Laurent. Great transfers from pristine 78rpm copies, the eighth in a YSL series of some of Vallin’s rarest records! ['Dove sono' from Nozze is priceless; Vallin's delicate French leaves a beguiling taste dans la bouche!]
"During the period between the two world wars, Ninon Vallin was unrivaled as the leading lyric soprano in France. Very good technically, she had an admirable art of singing with a style full of inflexion and modulation and was adept at colouring her voice. That voice had a compass of an easy two octaves of the lyric soprano, with free and natural emission, excellent breath control and a very beautiful timbre….Hers was a perfect legato and she was a mistress of portamento.”
- Alfred de Cock, THE RECORD COLLECTOR, 2003
“Ninon Vallin's idiomatic and 'typically French' approach to Gallic Opera roles and ‘Mélodies’ made Vallin a sensation in her native land. Her recordings were so popular that in the late 1920s the Pathé company issued them with her picture on the label, set in a handsome 'modernist' design. These records are highly popular with collectors, especially as the discs where she performed songs of Reynaldo Hahn and Joaquin Nín featured piano accompaniments played by the composers themselves. If your taste runs to the 'manière française', then you can hardly go wrong with the extensive recorded legacy of Ninon Vallin."
- Uncle Dave Lewis, allmusic.com
“Vallin’s trips back and forth between the Pathé and the Odeon recording studios, playing one company off against the other, were very much a calculated game to get the repertory she wanted to record. When she was asked how she was able to record such oddities (in France) as Norma, Mefistofele, ‘Frauenliebe und-Leben’, Richard Strauss songs, etc., [it was because she was able to switch] back and forth between the two companies, as evidenced by her flitting from Pathé to Odéon and back again, part of her bargaining stratagem….Vallin had a great affection for French operetta, and performed works by Lecocq, Massé, and Chabrier; she even ventured into music hall during the 1930s, singing at the Alhambra in Paris. Such was her popularity in her native country that she also appeared in a 1937 film, LA FILLE DE LA MADELON.”
- Victor Girard, Marston Program Notes
“André Balbon was a French bass opera singer, born in 1902. He was principally active in France in character roles. In 1924 he appeared in LES BURGRAVES by Léo Sachs at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, before working in the French provinces for several years.
Balbon made his début at the Paris Opéra-Comique on 1 November 1928 as un Officier in LORENZACCIO by Moret. From then until the 1940s he was a regular member of the Opéra-Comique company with an extensive repertoire. He sang in the Paris premieres of BOURGEOIS DE FALAISE by Thiriet (Sottencourt), COMME ILS S'AIMENT by Lavagne (Lustrac), ESTHER DE CARPENTRAS by Milhaud (Cacan), FOU DE LA DAME by Delannoy (Cavalier noir), FRASQUITA by Lehar (Aristide), GEORGES DANDIN by d’Ollone (Sottenville), NUIT EMBAUMÉE by Hirschmann (Ali), MON ONCLE BENJAMIN by Bousquet (Pontcassé), RAYON DE SOIERIES by Rosenthal (Monsieur Loyal), RIQUET À LA HOUPPE by Hue (Marquis de Carabas), LE ROI D'YVETOT by Ibert (Renaud), LE TESTAMENT DE TANTE CAROLINE by Roussel (Maître Corbeau), TOUT ANK AMON by Pérez (Hapousend), VIEUX GARÇONS by Urgel (von Petersboom), and ZADIG by Duperrier (Arimage).
In 1933 Balbon created the title role in Marc Berthomieu’s opérette ROBERT MACAIRE, at the Grand Théâtre in Le Havre. For two seasons, from 1953–55, Balbon sang at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels, appearing as Calchas (LA BELLE HÉLÈNE), Pomarel (LA CHASTE SUZANNE by Jean Gilbert), Gaspard (LES CLOCHES DE CORNEVILLE) and the Baron de Gondremark (LA VIE PARISIENNE).
In 1934 he appeared as Popoff in the Meilhac version of DIE LUSTIGE WITWE (La Veuve Joyeuse) at the Théâtre de la Gaîté-Lyrique in Paris and returned to the role in Geneva in February 1954 in a Grand Théâtre de Genève production starring Jacques Jansen as Danilo.
Balbon participated in FEU D'ARTIFICE by Erik Charell and JURG AMSTEIN with music by Paul Burkhard starring Suzy Delair at the Théâtre Marigny in 1952. He sang Robinet in the premiere of the comédie lyrique COLOMBE by Jean-Michel Damase and Jean Anouilh on 5 May 1961.”
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent’s natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011
“St Laurent Studio has provided a fascinating snapshot…. Surface noise is retained, but its low level is easily assimilated into the listening experience.”
- Colin Clarke, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Spring, 2011