Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Sep 17, 2016

Odette Le Fontenay (Soprano) (Paris, France 1885 - Broward County, Florida 1965)

She made her debut in France. She appeared at the Paris Opéra Comique and left France in 1913 with her husband Philip (Philippe) Coudert, a baritone and vocal pedagogue, a pupil of Jean De Reszke. They went to New York and in the 1916-1917 season she became a member of the New York Metropolitan Opera. Here she sang only in three operas: ‘’Zauberflöte’’, ‘’Hansel and Gretel’’ and "Figaros Hochzeit". She appeared on stage with her husband in various recitals during next 15 years. She had 3 children with her husband, but they divorced in the thirties. She made a few recordings for Edison and Victor. From 1935 to 1943 she taught singing at the School of Ethel Walker in Simsbury, Connecticut.

Chronology of some appearances

1916-1917  New York Metropolitan Opera


Victor, New York 1917-03-29
La Paimpolaise (Botrel-Feautrier) 69431 B19423
Le petit Grégoire (Botrel) 69431 B19424

Edison, New York 1917-04
Coeur et la Main (Lecocq): Par toi, divine créature with Langevin 74006 BA 28290
Coeur et la Main (Lecocq): Pardonne, et ne sois pas fâchée with Langevin 74006 BA 28274

Victor, New York 1917-05-31
Vous êtes jolie! (Delmet) 69695 B19966
Stances à Manon (Delmet) 69695 B19967

Edison, New York 1917-07-20/25
Chant hindou (Bemberg) 82125 5702-A
Le Nil (Leroux) 82125 BA 28287

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Sep 16, 2016

Gabrielle Ritter-Ciampi (Soprano) (Paris, France November 2, 1886 – Paimpol, France July 18, 1974)

She came from an artistic French-Italian family, her father was the tenor Ezio Ciampi (1855-1927), her uncle, Théodor Ritter was a known pianist. Her mother Cécile Ritter-Ciampi (1859-1939) had a successful career as soprano at the Paris Opera. At first she wanted to become a pianist and already at the age of 16 she gave a piano concerts, then she studied singing at the Conservatoire of Paris and with her parents. She made her debut in 1917 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris as Virginie in "Paul et Virginie" (a part which her mother had created forty years before) by Massé. In 1919 she was engaged by the Paris Opéra-Comique, after she had excited a sensation in Mozart’s "Schauspieldirektor" at the Théâtre Lyrique. Since 1921 she sang at the same time also at the Grand Opéra. In 1932 she sang at the Salzburg festival the part of Constance in Mozart’s "Entführung aus dem Serail". Reynaldo Hahn wrote the part of Dona Irène in "Le Oui des Jeunes Filles" for her, which she created on 21. 6. 1949 at the Opéra-Comique. After her retirement, she taught singing in Paris.

Chronology of some appearances

1917 Paris Théâtre Lyrique
1919 Paris Opéra-Comique
1921 Paris Grand Opera


Pathé, Paris 1923?
Nozze di Figaro (Mozart): Viens, cher amant 0383 382
Zauberflöte (Mozart): Ah, l'ingrat 0393
Roméo et Juliette (Gounod): Je veux vivre 0393

Pathé, Paris 1924?
Fille du Régiment (Donizetti): Salut à la France  0416 949
Mireille (Gounod): O légère hirondelle 0416 944
Contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach): Les oiseaux dans la charmille 0404, 917
Huguenots (Meyerbeer): Nobles Seigneurs 0404, 925

Polydor, Paris? 1928
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) Una voce poco fà, pt 166842 1503BM I
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini) Una voce poco fà, pt 2 66842 1504BM I
Faust (Gounod) Air des bijoux 66884 1485BM I
Faust (Gounod) Ballade du roi de Thulé 66998 1921BM
Il Pensieroso (Händel) Aria 66841 1494BM I
Il Re Pastore (Mozart) L'amerò, sarò costante 66841 1493½BM I I
Louise (Charpentier) Depuis le jour 66840 1486BM I
Nozze di Figaro (Mozart) Deh vieni, non tardar 66884 1489BM I
Zauberflöte (Mozart) Air de Pamina 66998 1920BM

Pathé, Paris 1929?
Traviata (Verdi): Quel est donc ce trouble charmant 7191
Traviata (Verdi): Pour jamais ta destinée 7191

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Sep 12, 2016

Gerhard Stehmann (Bass/Baritone) (Seiffen, Germany 1866, 8/5 - Wien, Austria 1926, 5/7)

First he studied singing under Lilli Lehmann in Berlin, then continued with Karl Ress in Leipzig. He made his debut in 1889 at the  Hoftheater in Altenburg as Admiral Lefort in "Zar und Zimmermann". In 1890 he went to North America, where first he sang in St. Louis, then in the 1895-1896 season at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He remained a member of the Damrosch Opera Company till 1897 and undertook in the 1898-1899 season an America tour with an opera troupe created by Nellie Melba. In 1899 he was engaged by the Hofoper in Wien, where he made his debut as an Army Caller in ‘’Lohengrin’’ and worked here up to his death. His repertoire included Wotan in Nibelungenring, Kothner and Beckmesser in "Meistersingern", Valentin in ‘’Faust’’, Kurwenal in ‘’Tristan und Isolde’’ and Germont-père in ‘’La Traviata’’.
Chronology of some appearances

1889 Altenburg Hoftheater Zar und Zimmermann (Lefort)
1899 Wien Hofoper Lohengrin (Army Calle)


G&T, Wien 1906
Carmen (Bizet): Quintett with Elizza, Forst, Kittel & Preuss 2-44121 4286L
Guillaume Tell (Rossini): Er fiel, er starb with Schmedes & Hesch 2-44109 4272L

G&T, Wien 1907
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Sextett with Kurz, Kittel, Preuss, Demuth & Hesch 044076 0742v
Aida (Verdi): Tempelszene with Forst & chorus 2-44322 11756u

Gramophone, Wien 1908
Traviata (Verdi): Finale, act 2 with Kurz, Preuss & chorus 2-44463 13259½u

Zonophone, Wien 1908
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti): Sextett with Kiurina, Melms, von Kellersperg, Reinhardt & Ritter X-24393

Gramophone, Wien 1909-10-02 
Aida (Verdi): Zu des Niles heil'gen Ufern with Elizza, Forst, Slezak, Mayr & chorus 3-44055 01212v

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Sep 11, 2016

Tomaz Alcaide (Tenor) (Estremoz, Portugal 1901, 16/2 - Lisbon, Portugal 1967, 7/11)

First he visited the Military Academy in Lisbon, then studied medicine at the University of Coimbra. He studied singing under Alberto Sarti, later he took vocal lessons with Francisco Coutinho and Eugenia Mantelli in Lisbon. Since 1925 he was a pupil of Fernando Ferrara in Milan. Already in 1924 he made his debut at the Teatro San Carlo in Lisbon as Duke in ‘’Rigoletto’’. He made his Italian debut in 1925 at the Teatro Carcano in Milan as Wilhelm Meister in ‘’Mignon’’ of  A. Thomas. 

Chronology of some appearances

26 May 1924 Lisboa S. Carlos Rigoletto (Duca)
5 December 1925  Milano, Carcano Mignon (Wilhelm Meister)
6 May 1926 Lausanne, G. T. Faust (Faust)
6 January 1927 Bologna, Duse La Bohème (Rodolfo)
1 April 1927 Hagen, Stadttheater Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Almaviva)
30 April 1927 Lausanne, G. T. Don Pasquale (Ernesto)
30 May 1928 Foggia, Dauno Madama Butterfly (Pinkerton)
8 November 1928 La Haye, Gebouw voor K. En W. La Traviata (Alfredo)
9 December 1928 La Haye, Gebouw voor K. En W. Lucia di Lammermoor (Edgardo)
31 January 1929 La Haye, Gebouw voor K. En W. Les Pêcheurs de Perles (Nadir)
19 November 1929 Valetta, Real  Falstaff (Fenton)
7 July 1930 Porto, Sá da Bandeira  Tosca (Cavaradossi)
12 February 1931 Padua, Verdi La Sonnambula (Elvino)
7 October 1931 Helsinki, Suomalainen Ooppera Roméo et Juliette (Roméo)
12 October 1932 Prag, Národni Divadlo  Manon (De Grieux)
27 January 1933 Bordeaux, G.T. Werther (Werther)
24 February 1933 Bordeaux, G.T. Un Ballo in Maschera (Riccardo)
24 November 1933 Bordeaux, G.T. Andrea Chenier (Andrea Chenier)
21 March 1934 Bordeaux, G.T. Lakmé (Frederic)
31 January 1935 Roma, dell'Opera Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio)
1 April 1935 Bruxelles Monnaie Fedora (Loris)

Sep 4, 2016

May Blyth (Soprano) (Edmonton, London, England 12 Feb 1899 – ? 1985)

Till 1921 she studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1922 she became a member of the English National Opera Company. In the 1925-26 season she also appeared at the Covent Garden in London. From 1930 to 1932 she was a member of the Sadler's Wells Opera in London. In 1937 she sang in a concert performance of F. Buson’s opera ‘’Doctor Faust’’ at the Queen's Hall in London. Since 1926 she was married the Australian conductor Aylmer Buesst (1883-1970), who was one of the founders of the English National Opera. Since 1934 she taught singing at the Royal Academy of Music London. Her recordings are extremely rare.

Chronology of some appearances

1922 London English National Opera Company
1925-1926 London Covent Garden
1930-1932 London Sadler's Wells Opera


Decca, London 
Aida (Verdi): , fuggiam da queste mura...Di Napata le gole! with Henry Wendon and Richard Watson K533 MA1541-1A
Aida (Verdi): Fuggiam Gli Ardori Inospiti with Henry Wendon and Richard Watson K533 MA1540-1A

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