V2614. MICHEL SÉNÉCHAL: Arias from Entführung, Platée, Zémire et Azore, Iphigénie en Aulide, Le Compte Ory, Démophon, La Dame Blanche, Le Pré aux Clercs, Si j'étais Roi, Le Roi l'a Dit, L'Enfant et les Sortilèges, Les Caprices de Marianne, Ivan IV, Mignon, Mireille, L'Enfant Prodigue, Barbe-Bleue, Faust, L'Enfance du Christ & Madama Butterfly. (France) Malibran 826, recorded 1948-63. - 7600003778260
"It was not until 1982, when he impersonated the servants in Offenbach's LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, that French tenor Michel -Sénéchal enlivened the MET stage, where he was heard as recently as the opening night of the 2005-2006 Season as Don Basilio in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. Principally known beyond the borders of his native country as a character tenor par excellence, Sénéchal was acclaimed in France as an accomplished exponent of high-flying parts such as Rameau's Platée, Rossini's Comte Ory, and Nicias in Massenet's THAIS. In Boston's DON GIOVANNI, Sénéchal sings with aristocratic grace, unerring stylishness, and a voice that sounds tailor-made for the music. Comforting Donna Anna and swearing to partner her in her quest for vengeance for her father's death, the tenor summons his trademark honeyed tones followed by more robust vocal mettle than might have been expected from him. Sénéchal is among the few recorded Ottavios who actually sounds as though he is so hopelessly in love with Anna as to be willing to suffer any impediment to their union....the ease with which he scales the heights of Ottavio's lines in ensembles is marvelous. In Sénéchal's performance of Ottavio's 'Il mio tesoro', his breath control completely conquering music that defeats many tenors. Vocally, Sénéchal is not the most opulent Ottavio on records, but he is among the most stylish and theatrically effective."
- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 3 June, 1983
"Following studies at the Paris Conservatory, Michel Sénéchal made his debut in 1950 at La Monnaie in Brussels. Under contract there for three seasons, he sang the lyric tenor repertory, as he continued to do later at both the Paris Opéra and the Opéra-Comique and in other theaters through France. His sophisticated sense of makeup, stage movement, comic timing, and seizing each element of irony and rendering it unforgettable all are built upon the underpinnings of a handsome light tenor voice, well-trained and always pleasant to hear. So dominant has this supporting artist become, the catalog reveals multiple recordings of his core repertory. His roles grew to include Rossini's Almaviva and Comte Ory, Hylas in Berlioz's LES TROYENS, Paolino in Cimarosa's IL MATRIMONIO SEGRETO, Georges Brown in Boieldieu's LA DAME BLANCHE, and three of Mozart's leading tenor parts: Tamino, Ferrando, and Don Ottavio. At Aix-en-Provence in 1956, Sénéchal sang the travesty role of Rameau's PLATÉE, a curious creature of heart-stopping homeliness who believes herself to be beautiful. The role is both a leading one and a character study. His success in the role was so great that he was called upon to perform the part in Amsterdam, at the Monnaie, and later, the Opéra-Comique.
For Michel Sénéchal's Metropolitan Opera debut on 8 March, 1982 that he was engaged for LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, performing the four comic tenor roles, a turn that by then had all but become a signature assignment. Other roles following at the Metropolitan were Guillot in Massenet's MANON and Mozart's Don Basilio. Sénéchal has, in addition to established repertory stage works, undertaken contemporary operas.
Sénéchal's mastery of the tenor character repertory has repeatedly brought him into the recording studio. His four comic characters in Hoffmann have been preserved on disc three times, while in James Levine's recording of ANDREA CHENIER, Michel Sénéchal appears together with his greatly respected Italian counterpart, Piero di Palma, and supporting principals Scotto, Domingo, and Milnes. In addition to Offenbach's HOFFMANN and a near-definitive ORPHEE AUX ENFERS recorded under Plasson in 1978, Sénéchal appears with Dame Felicity Lott in a recording of LA BELLE HELENE released in 2000."
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com