Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Feb 9, 2014

Marthe Chenal (Soprano) (Paris 1881 - Paris 1947)

She nearly gave up pursuing an opera career after a series of discouraging events. Officials from the Paris Conservatory thought little of her talent, and after a few French provincial theaters turned her away she was prevailed upon to accept singing engagements at music halls and at the Moulin-Rouge. However, after further studies with Martini, in 1905 she was engaged at the Paris Opéra as the French Brunehilde in Reyer's Sigurd. Chenal quieted the critics and became immensely popular at the Opéra, the Opéra-Comique, the Gaîté-Lyrique, and the Monte Carlo Opera. She was involved in the premieres of several, ultimately obscure operas, including ‘’Le Miracle’’ (1910), ‘’Icare’’ (1911), ‘’La forêt sacree’’ (1916), ‘’Graziella’’ (1916), ‘’Jeanne d'Arc’’ (1917), and ‘’Intermède’’ (1919). Chenal was noted for her fine stage presence and acting, and her generous spirit.

Chronology of some appearances

1905 Paris Grand Opéra
1907 Rome Teatro Costanzi


Pathé, Paris 1915?
Werther (Massenet): Air des larmes 1869 0049
Carmen (Bizet): Habanera 1871 0049
Ave Maria (Gounod) 1966 0051
Le chant du départ (Méhul) with chorus  2314 0052
La Marseillaise (de l'Isle) with chorus 2319 0052
Tosca (Puccini): D'art et d'amour 1941 0051

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