Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Mar 13, 2016

Fernand Faniard (Tenor) (Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium 1894 - Paris 1955)

He began his singing studies in the class of the tenor Laurent Swolfs at the Music Academy in his native town, then he continued study at the Royal Music Academy of Brussels under the direction of Désiré Demest. Initially he sang for a brief period as second baritone at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie of Brussels as well as at Ghent, together with another novice, the tenor André Burdino. After a while his voice range moved up to the tenor range and he began studies of tenor roles first with Éric Audouin, then with Tilkin-Servais (A distinguished artist at London's Covent Garden's). Developing an excellent tenor voice, he made his first appearance in 1926 at the French Opera of Antwerp in "Samson et Dalila", "Herodiade", "Boris Godunov" (A French creation), "Le Roi d'Ys" and in the creation of "Jane". He was re-engaged for the following year at the same theater. He was engagedt by the Monte Carlo's Opera for the the seasons of 1928, 1929 and 1930. Hera he created the french version of "Salome" (Herod) and "Die Ägyptische Helena" ((Menelas), both operas of Richard Strauss. Under the management of Raoul Gunzbourg he undertook principal roles in such operas as "Samson et Dalila", "La Damnation of Faust", "Die Walküre" and "Boris Godunov" (as Dimitry, and partnered by Vanni-Marcoux and Feodor Chaliapin in the seasons of 1933 and 1937). Following these achievements he was engaged by Jacques Rouché, the Director of L'Opéra de Paris. Fernand Faniard made his first appearance at the Palais Garnier's on 24 May 1930 as Samson together with Laure Tessandra (Dalila) in the Saint-Saëns opera. He remained at this house for the seasons of 1931, 1932, 1933, 1937 and 1942 where in addition to interpreting the role of Samson, he was Jean in "Herodiade", Eleazar in "La Juive", Siegmund in "Die Walküre", and as Tristan, Tannhäuser and Lohengrin (with Martial Singher) achieving resounding triumphs in this repertoire. In 1942, togethre with José De Trevi and José Beckmans, he appeared in the french version of Hans Pfitzner's "Palestrina" as Cardinal Bernardo Novagiero. In 1949, 1950, 1951, under the directioin of Georges Hirsch he gave many performances of "Lohengrin" and "Tristan" with Suzanne Juyol, René Bianco and Pierre Froumenty, all under the musical direction of Georges Sebastian. He appeared in many important French Houses, among them, Lyon, Marseille,Toulouse, Lille, Nice, Amiens, Vichy, Rouen, Nantes, and others.. in Algeria in Algiers and Oranwhere he had memorable successes as Eleazar in "La Juive" and Jean in "Herodiade" all to enthusiastic sold-out audiences. He sang in Casablanca and in Belgium at Ghent, Namur, Liège and Verviers and in Switzerland at the GrandThéâtre de Genève. He also performed at the Grand Théâtre of Bordeaux where he was partnered with the famous soprano of Bareuth fame, Germaine Lubin ("Tristan") and with André Pernet in "La Damnation de Faust". In 1931, he sang at the Opera of Luxemburg offering the creation of "Samson and Dalila". As a guest star at the Flemish Opera inn Antwerp he sang in many of Wagner's operas (in German) including "Lohengrin", "Tristan und Isolde", "Die Walküre", "Tannhäuser" and "Parsifal". He returned to this house in 1942 and 1943 repeating many of these roles, but this time sung in Dutch. Ha was engaged for Wagner operas at the Opera of Frankfurt am Main in 1933, but contract was voided. Because of the political situation, the possibilities of appearances at Bayreuth ended. In 1937, he sang at the Teatro Reale di Parma in Italy in an Italian language performance of Lohengrin. Apparently the transalpine public did not respond to what they described as .."Too academic a singing style". During the same year he gave exceptional performances celebrating the bicentennial of the Capitole de Toulouse singing in "La Damnation de Faust with Ninon Vallin as Marguerite and Vanni-Marcoux as Mephistopheles". On March 4 and 6, 1938 in de midst of the Spanish civil war and in spite of air raids warnings, he sang at the "Liceu" (Barcelona) once again interpreting Samson with Lucienne Anduran as the temptress. The declaration of war in 1939 ended engagements plans at the Colon of Buenos Aires and the Metropolitan Opera of New York. Like several other singers from occupied lands Fernand Faniard was compelled to pursue his career only in France and Belgium, During April and Mai of 1951, he sang the part of the Cardinal of Mainz in Strasburg's French creation of Paul Hindemith's "Mathis der Maler" (Mathis the Painter). Other principal artists included Rita Gorr, Andine Yosif and Roger Barsac, all under the direction of Ernest Bour. An accomplished concert artist, Fernand Faniard made prominent appearances in concerts and recitals for concer'ts associations as Colonne, Pasdeloup, Poulet-Siohan. He sang many times at the conservatories of Brussels, Tournai, Charleroi, Metz, Valenciennes and in concerts in Angers, Brest and at the Kursaal of Ostend. Between 1935 and 1940 his voice was heard on many broadcasting stations in France (Poste Parisien, Radio Tour-Eiffel) and Radio Paris with the French National Orchestra conducted by Désiré-Émile Ingelbrecht. He was also heard from the French and Flemish institutes of Belgiumand Radio-Luxemburg. After the second world war in 1949 he obtained French nationality and as new citizen of his adopted country was heard on French National Radior with Suzanne Juyol appearing in many programs produced by Roland Manuel called "Music's Pleasures". Thes were often specially devoted to Wagnerian works, excerpts and scenes from "Tristan and Isolde" and "Siegfried". He could also be heard in "Geneviève de Paris" (Marcel Mirouze) 1950 and Albéric Magnard's "Guercoeur",1951. Also of considerable interest in an unabridged version of "L'attaque du moulin" (Attack on the mill) by Alfred Bruneau. It was given on 9 November 1952 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Emile Zola's. Those two last works were preserved by the French Audiovisual Institute. On the same radio station, and as he had already done in 1938 at the Normal School of Music (Paris) in which he amazed many experts in the genre of German works, he gave the complete "Dichterliebe" cycle of Schumann. The French composer Pierre Capdevielle performed the accompaniiment. In 1951 he also performed recitals ofmelodies by Fauré, Duparc, Saint-Saëns, Debussy and Chausson on Radio Stuttgart and Radio Frankfurt. He was forced to end his career in 1953 because of a major illness which resulted in his death in Paris, on 3 August 1955.

Chronology of some appearances

1921-1925 Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie
1928-1930 Monte-Carlo Opéra
1941 Paris Opéra

Radio-Symphonic Orchestra Strasburg.(Conductor unknown) (1950)
L'attaque du moulin (Bruneau): Adieu, forêt profonde
Guercoeur (Magnard): Citoyens, vous m'avez donné la dictature

Witte Rosen (Tummers - E. Paoli) 512. 674
Je dent te mooi om trouw te zijn (H. Otten - Rido) 512. 674

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