Try as we might to be accurate with our documentation, we make errors. And in the case of Meyerbeer, where there was a great deal of biographical information on the singers, further research has produced a number of corrections. Over the years, many inaccuracies have been perpetuated by standard reference sources. We are making every effort to correct errors as we discover them, and to this end, we are indebted to Luc Bourrousse, a good friend and indefatigable researcher living outside of Bordeaux, who is gathering a tremendous amount of primary source information on French singers at the dawn of recording.
P. 24. Affre did not create Zarastra in Massenet's Le Mage, but the small comprimario part of a Prisoner. He only graduated to Zarastra when the original one, Edmond Vergnet, abandoned the role. Actually Affre didn’t really “hold his own” with Escalaïs et al.: he merely covered for them. Certainly he thus ensured things ran smoothly at the Opera, but never got a lead in a real creation – Polyeucte in “La Gloire de Corneille” is nothing but a cameo in a circumstance piece, “La Statue” and “L’Enlèvement au serial” being revivals, and perhaps he only got them because of Vaguet’s retirement. Interestingly, some contemporary sources allude to Affre as a “haute-contre”, which harks back to pre-Duprez days and makes him an heir to Legros and Nourrit, in technique if not in artistry.
P. 25. Alvarez's real name was Albert-Raymond Gourron.
PP. 26-27. Some sources have Auguez de Montalant dying in 1937.
P. 30. Charbonnel did not create Fourdrain’s Madame Roland. The premiere took place on 12 February 1913, at the theatre des Arts, Rouen, and Mariette Mazarin sang the part of Manon Roland.
P. 33. The part Delmas created in Le Mage is that of Amrou, not Amour, and in Ariane he sang Pirithoüs, not Périthous.
Poumayrac did not exactly make his debut “at” the Opéra-Comique, but rather “with” the Opéra-Comique “at” the theatre Montparnasse.
P. 34. The first woman to sing Pygmalion in Galathée was actually the creator Palmyre Wertheimber, in April 1852, and Deschamps-Jehin was simply the first female singer to sing the part at Monte-Carlo.
P. 35. Gaston(-Camille-Paul) Dubois was born on 4 October 1873, at L’Île-Saint-Denis.
P. 39. The soprano Lindsay's first name is given alternatively as "Jeanne" and "Julia."
He premiered the role of Sancho Pança in Massenet’s Don Quichotte, with Chaliapin in the title role at Monte Carlo in February 1910, but Fugère sang Sancho in the Paris premier on 29 December 1910 with Vanni-Marcoux as the Don. In the 1911 Paris performances, Gresse shared the role of Sancho with Fugère.
P. 41. Jean-Pierre Mouchon states in The Record Collector that Journet was born in Grasse on 25 July 1868, not 1867, citing his birth certificate, and gives the year of his Béziers debut as 1892.
P. 43. Lafargue also sang at the Teatro lirico in Milano, where it is believed she was the first Griselidis in Italy (25 November 1902) – actually, the picture shows her in this part.
P. 48. Georges-Louis Nansen was born in Paris on 17 December 1878. His stage name was Georges Nansen, and the first name Louis used only for his recordings – so perhaps “Georges-Louis Nansen” is an all-encompassing designation.
Armand(-Emile) Narçon was born in Paris on 13 October 1866.
Nivette was born on 9 June 1866 in Paris.
Page 51. The lady Lucien Rigaux married was not Valentine Petit, a successful dancer, but a rather less successful operetta singer named Jeanne Petit.
P. 56. Tanésy was born in Paris on 19 September 1863.
P. 58. The part of Marcomir that Vaguet created in Les Barbares is not a small role, but the opera’s lead.
P. 59. It is not Jean Vallier who was in Monte-Carlo in 1903, but brother Emmanuel-Virgile (Le Pin, 1861 – Nîmes, 1911), who sang the baritone parts of Sciarra in Le Tasse (premiered by Noté) and Vitellius in Hérodiade.
Meyerbeer on Record
Giacomo Meyerbeer was one of the most important composers in Paris during the mid-1800s. He is considered the founder of the French Grand Opera and his works dominated the French stage. Meyerbeer changed the face of opera in Paris, and yet, much criticism is directed toward him and much of his music is seldom heard today. This 3-CD set is the first of two volumes, which together will honor Meyerbeer and reacquaint the listener with his marvelous music and some very interesting singing. These two volumes will contain at least one version of every recorded Meyerbeer excerpt sung by French singers. They include cylinders and discs from the earliest days of recorded sound and continue through the 1930s. This compilation is not only an interesting way of organizing important and lovely French singing but gives a rare and extensive look into this style of singing. Volume one will feature recordings from Meyerbeer's first three operas written for Paris: Robert Le Diable, Les Huguenots, and Le Prophète.