This post has a real treat – a French Canadian tenor with a voice that I would call spinto. A few sentences about him, and then on to the youtube links.
Richard Verreau (Verreault). Tenor, born Château-Richer, near Québec City, Jan 1, 1926, died July 6, 2005. Verreau began singing in his parish church. After winning a Québec Symphony Orchestra competition for young artists he decided in 1945 to enter Laval University. He studied there with Émile Larochelle and took private lessons from Louis Gravel. In 1949, on a Quebec government scholarship, he went to Paris and studied with Raoul Jobin. In 1951 he signed a six-month contract with the Opéra de Lyon to sing in Lakmé, Manon, Mireille, and Les Pêcheurs de perles. Returning to Canada in 1952, he met Beniamino Gigli and went to Rome to study 1952-4 with that maestro.
Why have I selected this particular singer? It’s really the same reason for which I have selected all the other singers in this blog. Verreau sings with no pressure on the voice. The swallowing muscles are not engaged, the sound is not over-darkened, and the sound is free. He can do whatever he wants with his voice. I keep writing this, but what has been lost in today’s singing is freedom of the voice. Instead we get a swallowed and squeezed sound that is over-darkened, has a wobble, and is out of tune. That was not the which in which the great singers sang in the past.