Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Nov 30, 2014

Georgette Leblanc-Maeterlinck (Soprano) (Rouen 1869 – Le Cannet, near Cannes 1941)

She was the mistress of the Belgian poet Maurice Maeterlinck, who wrote the play Pelléas et Mélisande. Maeterlinck tried to procure the world premiere role of Debussy's operatic Mélisande for LeBlanc, but Mary Garden won the role, which she performed to great success. According to Garden's autobiography, Debussy had LeBlanc sing an act of Pelléas before a jury of musicians. The overwhelming results of that audition strengthened Debussy's support for Garden. LeBlanc had a light voice of no special quality. Fortunately, in 1903 LeBlanc recorded an excerpt of Massenet's Sapho, which is preserved in the Historical Sound Recordings collection at Yale University. Its historic value is not so much for LeBlanc's contribution, but for the fact that it is a very rare recording of Massenet himself accompanying the singer. Critic Edmond Stoullig caught her 1898 performance as Sapho at the Opéra-Comique, calling it, "quite different from that of her predecessor [Calvé, which] earned for her a personal success as actress, singer, and woman.

Chronology of some appearances

1893 Paris Opéra-Comique
1894-1896 Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie
1907 Paris Opéra-Comique
1912-1913 Boston Opera House


Columbia, 1912
Carmen (Bizet): Aria delle carte 19754 A1153
Amadis (Lully): Bois Epais  19763 A1243
Thais (Massenet): L'amour est une vertu rare 19755 A 1153

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