Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Sep 19, 2014

Livine (Livia) Mertens (Mezzo-Soprano) (Antwerpen 1901 - ? 1968)


She was trained by Maurice Declery and made her debut as a concert singer in 1921 in Antwerpen. In 1923 she was engaged by the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, where she sang the role of Frédéric in ‘’'Mignon’’ of A. Thomas as the first role. Longer than twenty years, till 1945, she remained active at the leading opera house in Belgium. She appeared here in several French-speaking premières, thus in 1924 as Jaroslavna in ‘’Prince Igor’’ of Borodin, in 1930 as composer in ‘’Ariadne auf Naxos’’ by  R. Strauss, in 1932 in ‘’Les précieuses Ridicules’’ of Lattuada, in 1933 in ‘’La farsa amorosa’’ of Zandonai, in 1938 as Felice in the premiere of Milhaud’s opera "Les Malheurs d'Orphée" (7. 5. 1926). Her star role was the title role in ‘’Mignon’’ of A. Thomas, which she sang about 140 times, but her repertoire also included roles like the Octavian in "Rosenkavalier", Charlotte in ‘’Werther'’’ of Massenet, Marguerite in  "La Dame blanche"  of Boieldieu. In addition she also sang with big success operetta roles like the title role in Offenbach’s "Großherzogin von Gerolstein", Sonja in "Zarewitsch" of Léhar and Orlowsky "Fledermaus". She was married the conductor Maurice Bastin, who worked in Marseille and Brussels. During the Second World War she joined to an opposition group against the German occupying and was arrested during several months in the prison.

Chronology of some appearances

1921 Antwerpen Opera House
1923-1945 Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie


Edison Bell
Carmen (Bizet): Habanera  F373 89257
Carmen  (Bizet): Pres des remparts de Seville  F 373 89258
Romeo et Juliette (Gounod): Chanson de Stephano F374 89260
Werther (Massenet): Les Larmes F374 89259

Romeo et Juliette (Gounod): Chanson de Stephano RFX30 LBX 74 
L'enfant et les sortilèges Cake-Walk LF96 LB216
La Dame de Pique  (Tchaikovsky): Romance de Pauline RF 19 WLB66
La route d'émeraude Berceuse RF 19 WLB18
Hansel et Gretel (Humperdinck): Joli château-gâteau with Anna Talifert RFX 27 LBX 78
L'enfant et les sortilèges (Ravel): L'Arithmétique LF96 LB217
Mignon (Thomas): Connaistu le pays ? RFX 30 LBX 73

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