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Marie Delna - The Complete Published Recordings
(& Jeanne Marié de l’Isle - selected recordings)
see end of review for details
Marie Delna (soprano) Jeanne Marié de l’Isle (soprano)
rec. 1910
MARSTON 52056-2 [76:39 + 79:48]
Experience Classicsonline

This double set gives us the complete recordings of soprano Marie Delna and an auspicious selection of discs made by fellow soprano Jeanne Marié de l’Isle. Delna was born Marie Ledant in Paris in 1875 and made her debut at sixteen as Dido in Les Troyens à Carthage, something of an event. Verdi admired her Quickly in Falstaff, a role in which he supervised her and she soon made international debuts. Marriage in 1903 took her away from the stage but she was back a few years later. Her Met debut came in 1910 in Gluck’s Orfeo with Gadski – Toscanini conducting – the second of which performance led to a celebrated run-in with the conductor. Her career wound down at the end of the First World War and she turned later to teaching. She died in 1932.
 
Delna sang in a number of premieres and was an important front rank singer of the French school. Her recordings began in London in 1903 of which sequence her Carmen does sound just a touch stentorian – though she was only twenty-eight. Curiously when she came to record again in her home city again for Pathé the voice sounds lighter and the Air des cartes – Carmen was a famous role of hers – suits her essential seriousness of purpose very well. Godard’s Viens avec nous petit from La Vivandière is a revolutionary rabble-rouser and full of brio – the piano part is hilariously done and the studio applause sounds part contrived but part genuine! In the extract from her debut work, Les Troyens, we can hear the actual timbre of the voice sounds almost counter-tenor like, the aria sitting in that part of her voice that is the most ‘male’ sounding; unconvincing upright piano. Clérice’s La Vierge à la crèche is accompanied at the piano by the composer in 1905 and is a cherishable example of her singing  - scaled-down in size, splendidly deployed. Her collaboration with Albert Alvarez in Meyerbeer and Donizetti proves equally impressive; Alvarez has a particularly fine voice and his strong, vibrant tenor signifies an impressive talent.
 
I think the 1907 recording of J’ai perdu mon Eurydice and the later 1910 Edison cylinder of Che farò show why Toscanini took against her in Orfeo. She progressively slows down, which must have infuriated the conductor. Rather better, indeed splendid, are the two Samson et Dalila extracts; Mon Coeur is in fact one of her most famous recordings and justifiably so, though I prefer the New York Edison remake of 1910. In the context the 1907 Pathé of di Capua’s O sole mio does sound rather incongruous; a peculiarity, though not an unwelcome one, in her discography. Disc 2 gives us some London-made Edison remakes and these were very favourable recording circumstances.
 
We are fortunate to be in a position to survey all her recordings in this way as she was an important artist. The companion singer is represented by a selection of her records. Jeanne Marié de l’Isle (1872-1926) was not only a contemporary but like Delna born in Paris. Her debut was rather later than Delna’s, in 1896, and she was soon making regular appearances with leading singers – Van Dyck, Clément, Beyle and the like. She sang frequently at the Opéra-Comique and took her three favourite roles – Carmen, Mignon, Charlotte - to many of the provincial houses as well. Unlike Delna her career wasn’t international – though she did venture to Bucharest and Sofia in 1910. Rather like Delna though her careered coincided with the end of the Great War.
 
Hers was something of a light mezzo voice and very beautiful. She gives us the tongue-twisting Maillart aria Espoir charmant! from Les Dragons de Villars – her first ever role on stage and it’s a pure delight. So too, despite the slightly noisy shellac, is her Mignon where the voice is fortunately forward and we can appreciate the refined purity of her singing. There’s a long sequence of arias from Carmen  - where Leon Beyle proves a stylish light tenor colleague. These are wholly admirable sides. She has personality too.  And her Berlioz example shows the youthful quality of the voice - though this extract is subject to the inevitable truncations of the time. She shows equally stylistic flair and surety in the songs by Gounod, Hahn, and Chaminade.
 
It goes without saying that Marston’s booklet is exemplary – full of biographical and musical information, full matrix and release and dating details. The photographs have been well produced – as ever. And the transfers are first class as ever.
 
Jonathan Woolf

Details
CD 1 [79:39]
Marie Delna (soprano)
Pathé, London, 1903
Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864)
Le Prophète - Ah, mon fils [2:34]
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) - Près des remparts de Séville [Séguedille][2:02]
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) -  L’amour est un oiseau rebelle [Habanera] [2:23]
Pathé, Paris, 1903–1904
Georges BIZET
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) - En vain pour éviter [Air des cartes] [2:26]
Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895)
La Vivandière - Viens avec nous, petit [2:02]
Jules MASSENET (1842 - 1912)
Werther (1893) - Va, laisse couler mes larmes [2:28]
Hector BERLIOZ (1803 – 1869)
Les Troyens à Carthage (1856-9) -  Chers Tyriens, tant de nobles travaux [2:24]
Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895)
Jocelyn (1888) - Cachés dans cet asile [Berceuse] [2:26]
Jules MASSENET (1842 - 1912)
Les enfants [2:25]
Justin CLÉRICE
La Vierge à la crèche [2:29]
Accompanied by the composer
Pathé, Paris, 1905
Giacomo MEYERBEER
Le Prophète - A la voix de ta mère [3:17]
With Albert Alvarez, tenor
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
La Favorite (1840) -   Leonor…Viens, je cède éperdu [3:17]
With Albert Alvarez, tenor
Pathé, Paris, 1907
Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice (1762) - J’ai perdu mon Eurydice [2:39]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
La Favorite (1840) - O mon Fernand [3:20]
Jules MASSENET (1842 - 1912)
Werther (1893) - Je vous écris de ma petite chambre [Air des lettres]
[3:10]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Samson et Dalila (1877) - Printemps qui commence [3:15]
Samson et Dalila (1877) -  Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix [3:17]
Benjamin GODARD
La Vivandière -  Liberté, rayonnant aux cieux, écoute ma prière ardente [2:48]
Alfred BRUNEAU (1857-1934)
L’Attaque du Moulin (1893) - Ah, la guerre, l’horrible guerre [2:18]
Alexandre GEORGES (1850-1938)
Miarka (1905) - Soleil qui flambes, soleil d’or rouge [1:39]
Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945)
Cavalleria Rusticana (1889) - Vous le savez, ma mère [3:12]
Eduardo di CAPUA (1864-1917)
O sole mio [3:11]
Edison Cylinders, New York, 1910
Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice (1762) - Che farò senza Euridice? [3:55]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
La Favorita (1840) -  O mio Fernando [4:09]
Giacomo MEYERBEER
Le Prophète - Ah, mon fils [4:17]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Samson et Dalila (1877) -  Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix [4:20]
Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886)
La Gioconda - Lyric drama in four acts (1876) - Voce di donna [3:41]
CD 2 [79:48]
Edison Diamond Discs, London, 1913
Giacomo MEYERBEER
Le Prophète - Ah, mon fils [4:40]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Samson et Dalila (1877) - Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix [4:53]
Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895)
Jocelyn (1888) - Cachés dans cet asile [Berceuse] [4:47]
Pathé Paris, 1918
Claude ROHAND
Carillon de guerre [3:40]
Espérance [3:24]
Jeanne Marié de L’Isle (soprano)
Selected recordings; French Odeon 1905 and Gramophone Company 1904–1906
Louis-Aime MAILLART (1817-1871)
Les Dragons de Villars (1856) - Espoir charmant! [3:00]
Ambroise THOMAS (1811-1896)
Mignon (1866) - Connais-tu le pays? [2:53]
Mignon (1866) - Je connais un pauvre enfant [Styrienne] [3:03]
Mignon (1866) - Je suis heureuse [3:25]
With Leon Beyle, tenor
Mignon (1866) - O vierge Marie [Prière] [2:26]
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) – L’amour est un oiseau rebelle [Habanera] [3:11]
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) - Près des remparts de Séville [Séguedille] [1:45]
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) - Les tringles des sistres [Chanson bohème] [2:55]
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) - Je vais danser en votre honneur [3:20]
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) - En vain pour éviter [Air des cartes] [3:12]
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) - Si tu m’aimes, Carmen [2:44]
With Hector Dufranne, baritone
Carmen - opéra-comique in four acts (1875) - C’est toi, c’est moi [Fragment from act 4 duet] [3:24]
With Leon Beyle, tenor
Jules MASSENET (1842 - 1912)
Werther (1893) - Vous avez dit vrai [3:02]
Werther (1893) - Va, laisse couler mes larmes [2:40]
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
La Damnation de Faust (1846) - Autrefois un roi de Thulé [3:08]
Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)
Sérénade [3:07]
Jules MASSENET
Les enfants [3:19]
Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947)
Si mes vers avaient des ailes [2:10]
Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944)
L’anneau d’argent [2:26]
Umberto GIORDANO (1867–1948)
Crépuscule triste [3:02]
Marie Delna (soprano)
Jeanne Marié de l’Isle (soprano)
CD 1:
Accompaniments: Tracks [1–12] accompanied by piano; Tracks [13–27]
accompanied by orchestra
Languages: French [1–21, 25–26]; Italian [22–24, 27]
CD 2:
Accompaniments: Tracks [1–3, 8–10, 15–16, 19–25] accompanied by orchestra;
Tracks [4–7, 11–14, 17–18] accompanied by piano
Languages: All sung in French

 


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