Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jun 15, 2012

René Maison (Tenor) (Frameries, Belgium 1895 - Mont-d'Or, France 1962)

Born in Frameries, Belgium, he studied in Brussels and Paris. He made his debut in Geneva in 1920, as Rodolfo in La bohème. He also appeared in Nice and Monte Carlo, before making his debut in 1927, at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, as Prince Dimitri in Franco Alfano's Risurrezione, opposite the soprano Mary Garden. His other roles there included Don José, Mylio, Werther, Canio, Cavaradossi, and Jean Gaussin in Massenet's Sapho.
He made his Paris Opéra debut at the Palais Garnier in 1929, in Henry Février's Monna Vanna. He sang there regularly until 1940, as Faust, Lohengrin, Radames, Siegmund and Samson. In 1934, he created there the role of Eumolphe in Stravinsky's Perséphone.
Maison also enjoyed a successful international career, appearing at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (1928-40), the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (1934-37), the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London (1931-36), and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His Met debut occurred on February 3, 1936, as Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. In eight seasons with the Met he sang Don José, Lohengrin, Samson, Julien, Florestan, Hoffmann, des Grieux and Herodes, among other roles.
In 1943, he began teaching at the Juilliard School in New York, and from 1957 until his death, at the Chalof School in Boston. Among his pupils was the baritone turned dramatic tenor Ramon Vinay.
Maison died in Mont-d'Or, France, aged 66. He was, in terms of birth dates, the middle member of a triumverate of outstanding Belgian operatic tenors who reached their peak in the period between the two world wars. The others were the lyric-dramatic tenor Fernand Ansseau (1890-1972) and the lyric tenor Andre D'Arkor (1901-1971).
Maison possessed a powerful and penetrating voice, capable of surprising nuance, and an impressive stage presence (he stood 6 feet 4 inches tall). Posterity is fortunate that he made some commercial, 78-rpm discs of French operatic arias which demonstrate his considerable merits as a singer. 

Chronology of some appearances

1928 Chicago Civic Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1929 Chicago Civic Opera House Lohengrin (Lohengrin)
1930 Chicago Civic Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1932 Chicago Civic Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1934 Buenos Aires  Teatro Colon Manon Lescaut (De Grieux)
1935 Buenos Aires  Teatro Colon Carmen (Don Jose)



Odeon, Paris 1927-05
Risurrezione (Alfano): Katiuska, ce jour exquis 188.532 Ki1228
Risurrezione (Alfano): Pleure, oui pleure 188.532 Ki1230

Odeon, Paris 1927 (between May & October)
Lohengrin (Wagner): Mon cygne aime 123.501  xxP6502
Lohengrin (Wagner): Recit du Gral 123.502 xxP6506

Odeon, Paris 1927-10
Louise (Charpentier): Mais un soir, dans l'escalier 188.539 Ki1363

Odeon, Paris 1927-10-31
Dannazione di Faust (Berlioz): Nature immense 123.502 xxP6523

Odeon, Paris 1927-11-02
Faust (Gounod): Me voici, d'ou vient ta surprise? 123.510, xxP6528
Faust (Gounod): O merveille with Julien Lafont 123.510, xxP6529

Odeon, Paris 1927-11/12
Lohengrin (Wagner): Ma confiance en toi 188.547 Ki1410

Odeon, Paris 1928-07-11
Sigurd (Reyer): Prince du Rhin 188.602 Ki1793

Odeon, Paris 1928-07-13
Favorite (Donizetti): Un ange, un femme inconnue 123.564 xxP6701

HMV, Paris 1934-05-14
Hérodiade (Massenet): Ne pouvent reprimer les élans DB4938 2PG1579

1 comment:

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