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SOLANGE MICHEL, Mezzo-Soprano * 27 November 1912, Paris, France + 15 December 2010, Bourges, France;

Solange Michel (November 27, 1912 – December 15, 2010) was a French classical mezzo-soprano who sang in concerts, recitals, and operas from the 1930s to the 1970s. She was particularly associated with the French opera repertory and was one of the most popular interpreters of the title heroine in Georges Bizet’s Carmen in post World War II France.

Life and career
Born Solange Boulesteix in Paris, Michel studied at the Conservatoire de Paris under Thomas Salignac and André Gresse. She began her career as a concert singer, giving her first performance on French Radio in 1936, and made her stage debut in 1942, as Charlotte in Werther.

In 1945, she changed her name to Solange Michel and became a member of the Opéra-Comique where she debuted as Mignon. Shortly afterwards, she was invited to perform at the Opéra de Paris, and quickly established herself as the most important mezzo of her era. Her interpretation of Carmen is now widely regarded as a classic. Other notable roles included; Charlotte, Dalila in Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson et Dalila, Geneviève in Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Marguerite in Hector Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, and Orfeo in Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. She also participated in the premieres of Pierre Wissmer’s Marion in 1951, and Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Last Savage in 1963.

She made guest appearances at the Royal Opera House in London, at La Scala in Milan, the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Liceu in Barcelona, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, also appearing in Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid, Lisbon, etc.

Michel was also much admired as a recitalist, and made her last appearance in Besançon, in 1978.

She made a number of recordings, the most famous being Carmen, opposite Raoul Jobin, and conducted by André Cluytens.

Solange Michel dans le rôle-titre de Carmen

Solange Michel en tenue de soirée, ca 1965.

La jeune Solange Bouquin (future Mme Boulesteix)

Solange Boulesteix avec ses chiens, dans son jardin.

Solange Michel dans le rôle-titre de Carmen, ca 1950.

Solange Michel dans Marion ou La Fille au tricorne

Solange Michel dans Charlotte (Werther), ca. 1955, son rôle préféré.

Solange Michel dans sa loge à l’Opéra Comique de Paris

Solange Michel dans le rôle de la Mère

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Uncategorized


SESTO BRUSCANTINI, Bass-Baritone * 10 December 1919, Macerata, Italy + 4 May 2003, Civitanova Marche, Italy;

Bruscantini’s father was a lawyer, and initially Sesto followed in his footsteps, studying law at Macerata University. By the time he graduated in 1944 however, he had already won a singing competition in Florence. During 1945 he studied with Luigi Ricci in Rome, paying for his studies by writing comments in verse on topical news for a weekly paper. He made his operatic stage début in 1946 at Civitanova as Colline/La Bohème, and subsequently spent a year at the Rome Opera School, singing small rôles such as the Notary/Gianni Schicchi and the First Nazarene/Salome. He also sang in concerts and began a long relationship with Italian Radio, taking the part of Sulpice in Donizetti’s La figlia del reggimento, an infectious account of the opera that was later issued on disc.

It was as Don Geronimo/Il matrimonio segreto (Cimarosa) that Bruscantini made his highly successful début at La Scala, Milan, in 1949, following this in the next year with Selim/Il turco in Italia at the Rome Opera, in a star-studded cast that included Maria Callas, Cesare Valletti and Mariano Stabile. He made the first of many appearances at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera during 1951 as Don Alfonso/Così fan tutte, singing opposite the Fiordiligi of Yugoslav soprano Sena Jurinac (to whom he was later married for a while). Glyndebourne became a spiritual home for Bruscantini: in 1952 he switched rôles in Così fan tutte to sing Guglielmo and enjoyed great success as Dandini/La Cenerentola. Immediately afterwards he appeared at the Salzburg Festival, singing Don Pasquale.

By the mid-1950s Bruscantini was established as one of the finest light baritones of his generation: one who sang with great vocal style and elegance, and cut a fine and often witty figure on stage. In addition to performing regularly with the Glyndebourne company at both its home in Sussex and at the Edinburgh Festival, he appeared throughout Italy, singing at Bologna, Genoa, Naples, Rome and Venice as well as Milan. Unusually, and with great versatility, he often alternated rôles, moving from Figaro to the Count/Le nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo to Alfonso/Così fan tutte, Belcore to Dr Dulcamara/L’elisir d’amore and Malatesta to Don Pasquale/Don Pasquale.

In 1960 Bruscantini began to sing slightly heavier and more dramatic rôles, commencing with the four baritone villains in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Marcello/La Bohème at the San Carlo Opera House in Naples. At Glyndebourne that year he sang Ford/Falstaff for the first time. Later rôles of this type included Posa/Don Carlos (Trieste, 1962), Renato/Un ballo in maschera (Florence, 1965), and Giorgio Germont/La traviata (Genoa 1966). This last was perhaps Bruscantini’s finest dramatic characterisation; he sang it in Chicago (where he had made his début in 1960 as Figaro/Il barbiere di Siviglia), Madrid, Marseilles, Palermo and Parma. The critic Elizabeth Forbes has written of this portrayal: ‘The depth of feeling he brought to the rôle was unique in my experience, and he evoked enormous sympathy for a personage who is often taken to be unsympathetic.’ Bruscantini continued to alternate rôles within operas, for instance switching between Riccardo and Giorgio/I puritani and Alfonso and Baldasare/La favorita.

By now singing regularly at major international houses such as the Vienna State Opera, Bruscantini made a belated début at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1971 as the Rossini Figaro. He returned there in 1974 to considerable acclaim as Dr Malatesta. He first appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, at the beginning of 1981 as Selim/L’italiana in Algeri, returning as Dr Dulcamara (1981), Dr Bartolo/Il barbiere di Siviglia (1982) and Michonnet/Adriana Lecouvreur (1983). Bruscantini’s singing career extended well into the 1980s, when he appeared for three consecutive years at the Salzburg Festival as Don Alfonso, also returning to Glyndebourne in 1985 as Don Magnifico/La Cenerentola.

He retired from the stage in 1990 at the age of seventy, after singing Don Alfonso at Macerata, but continued to be active as a teacher, establishing a school of singing in his home town of Civitanova Marche. Throughout his career Bruscantini was always a professional to his fingertips, able to deliver completely satisfying and fully rounded interpretations whatever the circumstances, and singing a total of 154 rôles in 113 operas. In an interview with Bruce Burroughs that appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 1988 he commented on this extraordinary record of achievement: ‘If a singer lives in a sane manner and has a good technique, it is very difficult for the voice to give out. In the theater, we don’t count the years, we count what’s inside.’

Bruscantini left an extensive discography which chronicles in some detail the various stages of his career. It ranges from the early Italian radio productions, which first appeared on the Cetra label, through the Herbert von Karajan Così fan tutte for Walter Legge and the wonderful Mozart and Rossini opera recordings from Glyndebourne conducted by Vittorio Gui, to later sound and video recordings of larger-scale works with conductors such as Lamberto Gardelli and Riccardo Muti. One especially significant recording is of the historic first broadcast by the BBC in 1976 of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra in the original 1857 version, which preserves Bruscantini’s fine account of the title rôle.

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Uncategorized


HÈLÈNE RÈGELLY, Soprano * 1904, France + 2001, France;

Image result for joseph rogatchewsky

Hélène Régelly (1904, France + 2001, France) was a French operetta soprano of the 1930’s.

Image result for joseph rogatchewsky

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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in Uncategorized


MARIO BASIOLA, Baritone * 12 July 1892, Annicco, Italy + 3 January 1965, Annicco, Italy;


He studied with Antonio Cotogni in Rome, where he made his début in 1918. Appearances in Florence and Barcelona led to an engagement with the S Carlo company, which toured America in 1923, and this in turn brought him to the Metropolitan in 1925. His roles there included Amonasro, Escamillo and Count di Luna. In 1930 he appeared in the American première of Felice Lattuada’s Le preziose ridicole and in that of Italo Montemezzi’s La notte di Zoraima the following year. He was also the Venetian in the first Metropolitan production of Sadko (1930). In 1933 he returned to Italy, where for many years he was a leading baritone in Milan and Rome. The enthusiastic reports of his work there were not entirely borne out when, after a serious illness, he came to Covent Garden (as Iago, Amonasro and Germont) in 1939; nor are they well supported by the recordings he made of Pagliacci and Madama Butterfly with Gigli. In 1946 he joined a company touring Australia, and in 1951 he returned there as a teacher. His earlier recordings show the full-bodied tone and flowing style which earned him a high reputation among the singers of his time. His son, Mario Basiola jr (b Highland Park, IL, 1Sept 1935), was also a successful baritone, singing in many leading houses including La Scala and the Vienna Staatsoper; his repertory included the title role in Wozzeck.

Chronology of appearance

1922 Anfiteatro Gangi di Catania Barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)

1922 Anfiteatro Gangi di Catania Rigoletto (Rigolett)

1923 Anfiteatro Gangi di Catania Traviata (Germont)

1932 Teatro Donizetti di Bergamo Andrea Chenier (Gerard)

1932 Teatro Donizetti di Bergamo Faust (Valentino)

1932 Teatro Regio di Parma Traviata (Germont)

1933 Teatro Regio di Parma Aida (Amonasro)

1933 Teatro Regio di Parma Traviata (Germont)

1933 Teatro Regio di Parma Gioconda (Barnaba)

1933 Teatro Reale dell’Opera di Roma  La forza del destino (Don Carlo di Vargas)


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Posted by on November 13, 2017 in Uncategorized


ALMA JOHANNA-KUULA, Soprano * 05 February 1884, St. Petersburg + 08 October 1941, Lappeenranta;

Image result for Sopraano Alma Kuula

Alma Johanna Kuula born Silventoinen (05 February 1884, St. Petersburg + 08 October 1941, Lappeenranta) was a Finnish soprano.


Alma en Toivo Kuula, circa 1914

Alma and Toivo Kuula, circa 1914

Toivo and Alma Kuula 1916.

Oulu 1911 (Museovirasto)

Date: 1914

Concert program 1919

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Posted by on November 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


AUNE KERTTU ANTTI, Soprano * 23 December 1901, Lappeenran, Finland + 27 August 1983, Helsinki, Finland;

laulajatar Aune AnttiF

Finnish soprano ANTTI (1901-1983), born Kerttu Aune Anttonen, debuted in Helsinki, Finland in 1931 and performed in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Berlin, Warsaw, Budapest, Paris and Lisbon. She also toured the United States and Canada in 1937 and 1938 with the Salzburg Opera Guild. She was awarded Finland’s Order of the Lion in 1972.

laulajatar Aune Antti

laulajatar Aune Antti

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Posted by on November 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


EDMÉE FAVART, Soprano * 1879 or 23 November 1886, Paris + 29 October 1941, France;

Edmée Favart.jpg

Edmée Favart (1879 – 29 October 1941) was a French soprano who had a varied and major career in opera and opéra comique and left many recordings of songs from roles she performed on stage.

Life and career
Favart was born in Paris, the daughter of the baritone Edmond Favart and Zelie Weil, and appeared on stage with her father as a child in Algiers. She sang the Duchess in a 1904 revival of Le petit duc at the Théâtre des Variétés in Paris. In 1907 she joined the company of the Théâtre des Nouveautés in Brussels. By 1912, she had returned to Paris, and appeared at the Gaîté in La fille de Madame Angot and La fille du tambour-major. Favart made her debut at the Opéra-Comique on 20 June 1915 in Mignon (later singing the title role in the 1,500th performance of the opera at the theatre on 25 May 1919). She went on to sing Delphine (Cosi fan tutte), Clairette La fille de Madame Angot, Colette (La Basoche), Rose Friquet (Les dragons de Villars), Micaëla (Carmen), Cherubino (The marriage of Figaro), Rosenn (Le roi d’Ys), and Mimi (La boheme) at the Salle Favart.

Favart created leading roles in La petite fonctionnaire in 1921 and Ciboulette in 1923 ; she also appeared in revivals of Véronique, Madame l’archiduc and Le petit duc at the Théâtre Mogador.

She returned to the Opéra-Comique in 1925 for a single charity performance of Véronique.

She also sang in the premieres of Monsieur Dumollet (1922), Pépète (1925), Quand on est trois (1925), Mannequins (1925), Le Diable à Paris (1927), Une nuit au Louvre (1928), Boulard et ses filles (1929) and Sidonie Panache (1930).

Favart retired in 1935, as Mme Paul Gazagne. She died in Marseille.

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Posted by on October 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

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