Firebirds of Paris
French and Belgian Singers in Russian Opera and Song

51008-2 (1 CD)  | $ 18.00


Firebirds of Paris
In 1907, Sergei Diaghilev changed the musical landscape of Europe by introducing Russian music to Paris. Diaghilev’s Cinq Concerts Historique Russes (Five Historic Russian Concerts) was a remarkable cultural experience that left Paris hungering for Russian arts. He introduced Paris to Mussorgsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Balakirev, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff. As with many newly-introduced art forms, the French wanted to make Russian music their own. In a relatively short time, many of the greatest French-language singers were performing Russian repertoire in French. Firebirds of Paris is a single CD devoted to these artists such as Vanni-Marcoux, André D’Arkor, Ninon Vallin, and Georges Thill. The set also includes many rare recordings of some lesser-known, though accomplished artists. The concept of Firebirds in Paris was first presented as a program for the Vocal Record Collectors’ Society in 1999 by Lewis Morris Hall, the producer of this compilation.
Total Time: 79:18


1.Mon cœur est triste [Coronation Scene] Prologue2:59
 Vanni-Marcoux (bass); 8 June 1934; HMV (2 PG 1648-1) DB 4950  
2.Sous les murs de Kazan [Chanson de Varlaam] Act I2:31
 Albert Huberty (bass); 1929; Pathé (201919) X 0677 
3.J’ai le pouvoir suprême, Act II 5:47
 Fred Bordon (bass); 15 May 1930; Columbia (WL 2294-1/WL 2295-1) RF 2 
4.Scène du carillon, Act II3:41
 André Pernet (bass); 23 October 1930; Odeon (XXP 7149-1) 123.723 
5.Laissez-nous seuls … Sortez, boyards [Les adieux et la mort de Boris] Act IV8:48
 Jean Aquistapace (bass-baritone); 1929; Pathé (201820/201819) X 7189 
LA DAME DE PIQUE (Tchaikovsky)
6.Romance de Pauline, Act I2:40
 Livine Mertens (mezzo-soprano); 6 May 1930; Columbia (WLB 66-1) RF 19 
7.Lentement baisse le jour [Recitatif et cavatine de Vladimir] Act II3:21
 André D’Arkor (tenor); 20 November 1930; Columbia (WLB 139-2) RF 27 
8.Hélas, mon âme est triste … Tendre épouse, Act II7:50
 Pierre Nougaro (baritone); 11 October 1930; Parlophone (95567-2/95574) 59.528 
NUIT DE MAI (Rimsky-Korsakov)
9.Air de Levko, Act III4:22
 Charles Friant (tenor); 24 April 1928; Odeon (XXP6656) 171.027 
SNEGUROCHKA (Rimsky-Korsakov)
10.Le nuage a dit un jour au tonnerre [Chanson de Lel] Act III3:24
 Ninon Vallin (soprano); 24 October 1927; Odeon (XXP 6516-1) 171.026 
SADKO (Rimsky-Korsakov)
11.Les diamants chez nous sont innombrables [Chant hindou] Scene IV3:35
 Georges Thill (tenor); 9 October 1933; Columbia (CLX 1735-1) LFX 336 
LE COQ D’OR (Rimsky-Korsakov)
12.Salut à toi, soleil [Hymne au soleil] Act II3:10
 Eidé Norena (soprano); 8 December 1930; Odeon (KI 3938-2) 188.796 


13.Les haleurs de la Volga [Song of the Volga boatmen] (Doyen)3:43
 François Audiger (bass); 1932; Polydor (5488 BKP) 522310 
14.Chanson de la puce [Song of the flea] (Musorgsky)2:56
 Georges Jouatte (tenor); 1 December 1930; Odeon (KI 3935-1) 188.793 
15.Chanson géorgienne (Balakirev)3:32
 Ninon Vallin (soprano); 15 December 1931; Odeon (XXP 7312-2) 123.708 
16.Extase, op. 34, no. 9 (Rubinstein)4:32
 Charles Soix (bass); 28 May 1946; Pathé (CPTX 624-1) PDT 112 
17.Ah! Qui brûla d’amour [None but the lonely heart] (Tchaikovsky)3:19
 Gérard Souzay (baritone); 10 August 1948; French Decca (FDR 3-1) AF 187 
18.La rose et le rossignol, op. 2, no. 2 [The rose and the nightingale] (Rimsky-Korsakov)3:09
 Renée Doria (soprano); 3 October 1949; Pathé (CPT 7197-1) PD 101 
19.Les lilas, op. 21, no. 5 [Lilacs] (Rachmaninoff)1:21
 Germaine Cernay (mezzo-soprano); 29 September 1930; Odeon (KI 3670-2) 188.765 
20.Ô mon champ bien-aimé, op. 4, no. 5 [Harvest of sorrow] (Rachmaninoff )4:28
 Claudine Boons (soprano); 1929; Polydor (2160 BMP) 566091 


This compact disc is lovingly dedicated to my little grandchildren,
Isabella Francesca Romano and Luca Lewis Morris Romano,
with the hope that when they grow older they, too, will become lovers of opera.
Lewis Morris Hall

Accompaniment: Track 1: orchestra, conducted by Piero Coppola; Tracks 2 and 5: orchestra; Track 3: orchestra, conducted by Joseph-Eugène Szyfer; Tracks 4, 9-10, 12, 14, and 15: orchestra, conducted by Gustave Cloëz; Track 6: piano, Fernand Goeyens; Track 7: orchestra of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, conducted by Maurice Bastin; Track 8: orchestra, conducted by Maurice Frigara; Track 11: orchestra, conducted by Eugène Bigot; Tracks 13 and 20: orchestra, conducted by Florian Weiss; Track 16: piano, André Tournier; Track 17: piano, Irène Aïtoff; Track 18: piano and flute, piano by Tasso Janopoulo, flutist not credited; Track 19: piano, Gustave Cloëz

Languages: All tracks in French

Producer:: Lewis Morris Hall

Audio Conservation:: Ward Marston

Audio Assistance:: J. Richard Harris

Photographs:: Gregor Benko, Rudi van den Bulck, Lewis Morris Hall, and Charles Mintzer

Records:: Lewis Morris Hall and Ward Marston

Booklet Notes:: Vincent Giroud

Booklet Design:: Takeshi Takahashi

Marston would like to thank Luc Bourrousse, Raymond Edwards, Michael Gray, Lawrence Holdridge, and David Mason for their help in the production of this CD.

Singer Biographies

AQUISTAPACE, JEAN (1888-1952). Born in Nice, he studied singing with the Niçois bass-baritone Édouard Rouard. He was the first Frenchman to sing Boris in French: the performance took place at the Grand-Théâtre in Lyons in 1913. It was also as Boris that he made his debut at the Paris Opera when he succeeded Vanni-Marcoux in the role in August 1922. Other parts he sang at the Opéra include Sparafucile (Rigoletto), Méphistophélès (Faust) and Papageno (Zauberflöte). He also sang the Devil in Grisélidis when Massenet’s opera was first staged at the Opéra in 1922 with Robert Couzinou as the Marquis and Fernand Ansseau as Alain. Aquistapace died in his native city in 1952.

AUDIGER, FRANÇOIS (unknown). Little is known about this French bass. He belonged to neither the Opéra nor the Opéra-Comique troupe and sang chiefly in the provinces. Documented appearances include Phanuel in Massenet’s Hérodiade at Le Havre in 1931 (with John Brownlee as Herod), Fafner and Hunding in the Ring at Marseilles (the local premiere) in 1936, with José de Trévi in the main tenor roles and Marjorie Lawrence as the Walküre and Götterdämmerung Brünnhildes. His recorded legacy comprises only six sides for Polydor.

BOONS, CLAUDINE (1894-1945). This Belgian soprano was born in Liège. She made her relatively belated debut at the Monnaie in the 1936-1937 season, singing the title role in Spontini’s La vestale as well as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre. Her repertoire included Aida, Tosca, Marguerite (Faust), Elektra, Sélika (L’Africaine), the Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier), Rachel (La Juive), and Leonore (Fidelio). She appeared in concert and as a guest artist in Ghent in 1944-1945, also teaching at the Liège Conservatory as of 1942. She remained with the Monnaie company until she died in Brussels in 1945. Boons recorded only ten sides, all for French Polydor.

BORDON, FRED (1896-1966). Alfred Bordon was born in the then French colony of Constantine, Algeria. He studied at the Paris Conservatory and made his Paris Opera debut in 1922 as Radbert in Henri Rabaud’s La fille de Roland, a work initially premiered at the Opéra-Comique in 1904; Germaine Lubin and Paul Franz headed the cast. Among the many roles he sang at the Opéra are the Devil in Grisélidis, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Phanuel in Hérodiade, Athanaël in Thaïs, Ramfis in Aida, and Méphistophélès in Faust, from which he recorded the Act 1 duet with Georges Thill for Columbia. He appeared as Pimen (Boris Godunov) in 1924 and 1930.

CERNAY, GERMAINE (1900-1943). Born Germaine Pointu in Le Havre, she studied at the Paris Conservatory with Henri Albers and Émile Engel, making her debut at the Opéra-Comique in 1927 in the Paris premiere of Alfano’s Resurrezione, opposite Mary Garden and René Maison. Her Salle Favart roles included Charlotte (Werther), Margared (Le roi d’Ys), Mignon, Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), and Mallika (Lakmé). Outside of France, she appeared in Belgium and Switzerland, as well as in North Africa. In 1942 she sang the role of Geneviève in the first complete recording of Pelléas et Mélisande under the baton of Roger Désormière. Cernay died prematurely a year later in Paris.

D’ARKOR, ANDRÉ (1901-1971). This outstanding, elegant Belgian lyric tenor was born in Tilleur, near Liège. He studied at the Liège Conservatory and made his debut in this city in 1925 as Gérald in Lakmé. As of 1930 he appeared at the Monnaie, where he performed some 40 roles, including Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Elvino (La sonnambula), Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), the Duke (Rigoletto), Vincent (Mireille), Rodolfo (La bohème), and Cavaradossi (Tosca). He made his Opéra-Comique debut in 1931, singing Des Grieux in Manon, the only role in which he was heard in Paris. In 1945 he became director of the Théâtre Royal in Liège. He died in Brussels in 1971. He made a number of superb recordings for French Columbia.

DORIA, RENÉE (1921-). Born in Perpignan, where she received her musical instruction, this soprano leggiero made her stage debut in 1942 at Marseilles as Rosina in The Barber of Seville. Her Opéra-Comique debut took place in 1944 as Lakmé, followed by many appearances in such parts as Violetta (La traviata), Philine (Mignon), Mireille, and Leila (Les pêcheurs de perles). In 1947 she sang the Queen of the Night at the Paris Opera, where she also appeared as Gilda (Rigoletto) in 1956 and Sophie (Rosenkavalier) in 1957. Despite several invitations to sing the Queen of Shemakha in Le coq d’or, she never appeared in Russian opera.

FRIANT, CHARLES (1890-1947). Born in Paris, this lyric tenor began his career as a member of the Opéra chorus, taking part in the local premiere of d’Indy’s L’étranger in 1902, but was also trained as a ballet dancer (his father’s and grandfather’s profession) and as an actor. After studying singing with Léon Melchissédec at the Paris Conservatory in 1910-1914, he made his stage debut as Spakos at the Paris premiere of Massenet’s Cléopâtre at the Théâtre-Lyrique du Vaudeville in 1919, with Mary Garden in the title role. In 1920, Friant made his Opéra-Comique debut as Werther, the part with which he is especially associated. His other Opéra-Comique roles were Des Grieux (Manon), Jean (Le jongleur de Notre Dame), Gérald (Lakmé), Canio (Pagliacci), Cavaradossi (Tosca), and Don José (Carmen); parts he premiered include Gygès in Bruneau’s Le roi Candaule (1920), Narcès in Samuel-Rousseau’s Le Hulla (1923), Dagobert in the same composer’s Le bon roi Dagobert (1929), and Raphaël in Levadé’s La peau de chagrin (1929). He appeared at Marseilles, Nice, and Algiers, as well as at the Monnaie. Friant never appeared in a solo role at the Paris Opera. He died in Paris in 1947. He recorded acoustic discs for HMV and Pathé, followed by a substantial selection of electric Odeons.

HUBERTY, ALBERT (1881-1955). This Belgian bass was born in Séraing-sur-Meuse and was trained at the Brussels Conservatory. For two seasons, in 1909-1911, he appeared with the French Opera House in New Orleans, and in 1911-1913 sang in Montreal. He made his Paris Opera debut in 1916 as Capulet in Roméo et Juliette, graduating to Friar Lawrence two years later, and he remained with the company until about 1940. His vast repertoire included Wotan in Die Walküre, Marcel in Les Huguenots, the King in Hamlet, Hagen in Sigurd, Phanuel in Hérodiade, and the three bass roles in Boris Godunov: Pimen in 1922, Boris in 1925, and Varlaam in 1929. Other Russian roles he sang at the Palais Garnier were Ivan (Khovanshchina, 1923) and King Dodon (Le coq d’or, 1927). He was the Opéra’s first Baron Ochs (Der Rosenkavalier, 1928) opposite Jeanne Campredon as the Marschallin and Germaine Lubin as Octavian. He was the Opéra’s first Inigo in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole in 1921 and took part in the world premiere of Sauguet’s La chartreuse de Parme in 1939, as General Fabio Conti. He died in Knocke-le-Zoute, Belgium, in 1955.

JOUATTE, GEORGES (1892-1969). Born in Monaco, he began his career as a dancer, and then made his singing debut as a baritone specializing in operetta. During the early 1930s, Jouatte became an operatic tenor, and making his Paris Opera debut in 1935 as Faust in La damnation de Faust. Later that season, he appeared as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, and as Castor in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, with Germaine Lubin and Germaine Hoerner alternating as Télaïre. Jouatte partnered Lubin in 1936 as Admète in Gluck’s Alceste; in 1937 as Florestan (Fidelio) with Lotte Schoene as Marzelline; in 1938 as Shahabarim, when Reyer’s Salammbô was revived with José Luccioni and André Pernet as his co-stars; and in 1943 as Ulysses in Fauré’s Pénélope, when the work was staged for the first time in its entirety at the Opéra with François Ruhlmann on the podium. In 1937, Jouatte was the Opéra’s first Erik (Der fliegende Holländer) with Hoerner as Senta and Martial Singher in the title role. The following year saw Jouatte as Lohengrin, and Aeneas in Berlioz’s La prise de Troie. That year, he added the role of Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), which he reprised in 1941 and 1946. He also sang Armel in Chabrier’s Gwendoline at the 1941 revival. His Opéra-Comique roles included Belmonte (Entführung aus dem Serail), Bacchus (Ariadne auf Naxos), and Werther (with Lubin as Charlotte). In 1937, he appeared at Covent Garden in Alceste, again with Lubin. Jouatte taught at the Paris Conservatory from 1946 until 1962 and died in Paris in 1969.

MERTENS, LIVINE (1901-1968). This Belgian mezzo-soprano was born in Antwerp and died in Brussels. After studying at the Paris Conservatory, she made her stage debut at the Monnaie as Frédéric in Mignon in 1923. She took part in the Belgian premiere of Prince Igor as Kontchakovna, with Joseph Rogatchewsky as Vladimir. As Pauline, she also partnered Rogatchewsky’s Hermann when Pique Dame was first given in Brussels in 1931. Owing to her involvement in the Resistance during World War II, she was imprisoned by the Gestapo for several months.

NORENA, EIDÉ (1884-1968). The Norwegian soprano was born Karoline Hansen Horten, near Oslo. She studied singing in Norway, Germany, and England, making her debut in Oslo in 1907 as Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. In 1909 she married the Norwegian actor Egel Naess Eidé, whose name she adopted, appearing first as Caja Eidé before she changed her stage name to Eidé Norena in the 1920s. She sang Gilda (Rigoletto) under Toscanini at La Scala, in 1924, and the following year, she made her Paris Opera debut in the same role. Her Paris roles included Marguerite (Faust), Blonde (Entführung aus dem Serail), Juliette, Mathilde (Guillaume Tell), Desdemona (Otello), and Ophélie (Hamlet). In 1930 she added Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots, appearing with Yvonne Gall as Valentine, John O’Sullivan as Raoul, Albert Huberty as Marcel, and André Pernet as Saint-Bris. She partnered Huberty’s King Dodon as the Queen of Shemakha in Rimsky’s Le coq d’or at its 1932 Paris Opera revival. At Covent Garden, Norena sang Liu (Turandot) and Mimi (La bohème); at Chicago (in 1926-1928) Nedda (Pagliacci), Butterfly, Loreley, Micaela (Carmen), Eudoxie (La Juive), and Ginevra in Giordano’s La cena delle beffe. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1933 as Mimi, opposite Giovanni Martinelli, and appeared there subsequently until 1938. She retired in 1939 and died in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland, in 1968.

NOUGARO, PIERRE (1904-1988). The Toulouse-born baritone was trained at the Conservatory in his native city. He sang in the chorus at the Folies-Bergère before making his Opéra debut in 1929 as the Herald in Lohengrin. In 1931, he appeared as Athanaël in Thaïs, as Valentin in Faust, and as Amonasro in Aida. His other Paris Opera roles were Telramund in Lohengrin, the High Priest in Samson et Dalila, Herod in Hérodiade, Hamilcar in Reyer’s Salammbô, Karnac in Le roi d’Ys (a work transferred to the Opéra in 1941), Creon in Honegger’s Antigone (in 1943, when the work was first staged in Paris), Iago, the title-role in Werner Egk’s Peer Gynt, and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette. He also appeared at the Opéra-Comique as of 1942. After his retirement he was director of the Besançon and Rennes opera houses. His son Claude Nougaro (1929-2004) was a famous pop singer.

PERNET, ANDRÉ (1894-1966). One of the foremost French basses of his generation, Pernet was born in Rambervillers, in the Vosges region. After serving in the First World War, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire with André Gresse and made his debut at the Nice Opera in 1921. After appearing in various French provincial theaters such as Cannes, Deauville, Strasbourg, and Toulouse, Pernet made his Paris Opera debut in 1928 as Méphistophélès in Faust. That same year, his other Opéra appearances included Athanaël in Thaïs, Wotan in Die Walküre, and the King in Aida. He sang his first Opéra Boris in the 1929-1930 season and repeated the role at the 1937 revival. Other Paris Opera roles included Saint-Bris (Les Huguenots), King Marke (Tristan), Gurnemanz (Parsifal), Méphistophélès (La damnation de Faust), and Don Giovanni in 1934, with Lubin as Donna Anna and Bruno Walter conducting. He sang in the world premieres of Ibert’s Persée et Andromède (1929), Emmanuel’s Salamine (1929), Milhaud’s Maximilien (1932, with Lubin singing Charlotte to his Maximilien), Rabaud’s Rolande et le mauvais garçon (1934), Reynaldo Hahn’s Le marchand de Venise (1935, as Shylock), d’Ollone’s La Samaritaine (as Jesus, 1937), and, especially, Enesco’s Œdipe, in the title role. In other French opera houses, he was also a celebrated Don Quichotte in Massenet’s opera. He died in Paris in 1966.

SOIX, CHARLES (1914-unknown). Born in Annonay, this Ardéchois bass sang mostly comprimario parts at the Paris Opera, where his debut role in 1953 was the Duke in Roméo et Juliette. He is especially remembered as the Dapertutto on the French Columbia recording of Les contes d’Hoffmann, with Raoul Jobin, Renée Doria, Vina Bovy, and Geori Boué. Among his major roles, which he sang in the provinces—especially in Lyons where he was a frequent guest—were Lothario (Mignon), which he sang with Doria as Philine, and Méphistophélès in Faust.

SOUZAY, GÉRARD (1918-2004). The outstanding French male concert singer of his generation, Souzay was born Gérard Tisserand in Angers. He studied at the Paris Conservatory during World War II with Vanni-Marcoux and Claire Croiza, though his chief mentor was the baritone Pierre Bernac, Poulenc’s favorite partner. Souzay made his recital debut in Paris in 1945, and he gave his first New York performance in 1950. His operatic career included only a few roles: Orfeo in Monteverdi’s opera, which he sang at the New York City Opera in 1960 with Judith Raskin and Leopold Stokowski conducting; Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, which he sang in the same year at Aix-en-Provence with Teresa Berganza as Dido; Golaud in Pelléas, which he first sang in Rome in 1962; Don Giovanni, which he sang at the Paris Opera in 1963; and the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, which he sang at the Metropolitan Opera in 1965. He made more than 750 recordings, Tchaikovsky’s “None but the lonely heart” being one of his earliest. He died in Antibes in 2004.

THILL, GEORGES (1897-1984). The foremost French tenor of his day, Thill was born in Paris and studied at the Conservatory for two years before taking instruction in Italy with Fernando de Lucia. He made his debut at the Opéra-Comique in 1918 as Don José (Carmen). There, he also sang Gérald (Lakmé), Des Grieux (Manon), Canio (Pagliacci), and Werther. Thill made his Opéra debut in 1924 as Nicias in Thaïs, followed that year by the Duke in Rigoletto. At the Opéra, he sang Radames (Aida) and Faust in 1925; Canio (Pagliacci) and Roméo in 1926; Arnold (Guillaume Tell) in 1929; Roland (Massenet’s Esclarmonde) in 1931; Faust (La damnation de Faust) in 1933; Samson in 1935, with Ketty Lapeyrette as Dalila; Raoul (Les Huguenots) in 1936; and Thésée (Massenet’s Ariane) in 1937, opposite Germaine Lubin. During the 1930s he was the Opéra’s leading Wagnerian tenor, with appearances as Tannhäuser, Walther, Parsifal, and Lohengrin, though he never sang Siegfried or Tristan. Thill premiered several roles in Paris, including Yves in Lazzari’s La tour de feu (1928), the title role in Canteloube’s Vercingétorix (1933), and Gaspard in Rabaud’s Rolande et le mauvais garçon (1934). He was the Opéra’s first Calaf (Turandot) in 1928, with Maryse Beaujon as Turandot, repeating the role at La Scala and the Verona arena. His other La Scala appearances were as Chénier in Andrea Chénier, and as Rio in Gomes’s Il Guarany. At the Colón, he sang Calaf, Sadko, and Don Carlo; at Covent Garden, he was heard in Carmen and Samson et Dalila; at Monte Carlo, he premiered Raoul Gunsbourg’s Satan in 1930, and sang the title role in Le prophète in 1932; and at the Metropolitan Opera, he sang Roméo, Gérald, Radames, Faust, Cavaradossi, and Don José. He left the Opéra in 1940 and made his farewell to the stage as Canio at the Opéra-Comique in 1953. His exceptionally phonogenic voice made him highly popular as a recorded artist. He died in Lorgues, in the Var département in southern France.

VALLIN, NINON (1886-1961). One of the greatest singers to have emerged from France, Vallin, originally named Eugénie, was born in Montalieu-Vercieu, in the département of Isère. After studying at the Lyons Conservatory, she took lessons in Paris with Meyrianne Héglon. Having taken part in the premiere of D’Annunzio and Debussy’s Le martyre de saint Sébastien in 1911, Vallin made her Opéra-Comique debut in 1912 as Micaela in Carmen. Her many roles included Louise (of which she recorded an abridged version with Georges Thill—not a favorite partner of hers, though she also recorded Werther with him), Mignon, Mimi, Manon, and Salud in Falla’s La vida breve; she also premiered Manuella in Erlanger’s La sorcière in 1912, and Clara in Leroux’s Les cadeaux de Noël in 1915. Vallin made her Paris Opera debut in 1920 as Thaïs, where she also appeared as Marguerite in La damnation de Faust. Her international appearances included the Teatro Colón, where she sang between 1916 and 1936 opposite Caruso, Schipa, and Gigli, among others; La Scala, where she premiered Rabaud’s Mârouf in 1917 and sang Mignon, Louise, and the title role in Wolf-Ferrari’s Il segreto di Susanna; Covent Garden, and the Vienna State Opera. Returning to the Opéra-Comique in the 1920s, she sang the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Charlotte in Werther, Carmen, and premiered as the heroine in Respighi’s Maria egiziaca in 1934. During the war she appeared at Monte Carlo, and afterwards taught at Montevideo. An outstanding concert artist, Vallin was paradoxically more appreciated outside France than in her native country. She died in Lyons, where she had taught during the last five years of her life.

VANNI-MARCOUX (1877-1962). This outstanding singing actor was born Jean-Émile Marcoux in Turin. He studied singing in his native city, where he made his debut anonymously at the age of 17 as Sparafucile in Rigoletto. He completed his vocal training in Paris and started singing in the French provinces, making his debut in Bayonne, as Friar Lawrence in Roméo et Juliette. In 1904 he appeared at The Hague as Scarpia (Tosca), a role he would sing in Boston, opposite Mary Garden, in 1912. Vanni-Marcoux made his Covent Garden debut in 1905 as Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia) and sang Arkel at the London premiere of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. He made his Paris Opera debut as Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust in 1908, and also sang the Landgrave in Tannhäuser that same year. His other Opéra roles included Athanaël in Thaïs, Iago in Otello, Méphistophélès in La damnation de Faust, and Don Basilio in Barbiere. He was the first Don Quichotte in the Paris premiere of Massenet’s opera in 1910, and premiered Massenet’s posthumous Panurge in 1913, both at the Théâtre de la Gaîté. In 1922 he was the Opéra’s first French Boris and he repeated that role at La Scala under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. Roles he premiered include Guido in Février’s Monna Vanna (1909) at the Opéra; the title roles in Moret’s Lorenzaccio (1920) and Jean Cras’s Polyphème (1922) at the Opéra-Comique; and Flambeau in Honegger and Ibert’s L’Aiglon in 1937 at Monte Carlo, where he was also the first Baron Ochs, partnering Gabrielle Ritter-Ciampi as the Marschallin and Germaine Lubin as Octavian. At Chicago, among other roles, he sang Don Giovanni and the father in Louise. He taught at the Paris Conservatory from 1938-1943, and headed the Grand-Théâtre in Bordeaux from 1948 until 1951. He died in Paris in 1962. Vanni-Marcoux recorded 120 sides for French HMV between 1924 and 1937. He also made one long playing Pathé Marconi disc in 1955.

© Vincent Giroud, 2010