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Roger Bourdin, French Baritone

By December 8, 2020March 19th, 2023No Comments

Bourdin is singing two songs by an obscure French composer named André-Joseph d’Exaudet. I don’t know who the poets were. When I hear French singers, most of the time they sound heavy and on their throats. Another issue that they tend to have is that they don’t sing in French too well. I know that that sounds strange, but the problem that they tend to have is that they in sing French in the way that they speak French; they thus over-nasalize vowels, and the sound gets stuck in the their noses. Bourdin is very different than that. He sings in French beautifully, and he doesn’t over-nasalize.


Cet étang, qui s’étend dans la plaine,
Répète, au sein de ses eaux,
Les verdoyants ormeaux
Où le pampre s’enchaîne.
Un ciel pur, un azur sans nuages,
Vivement s’y réfléchit,
Le tableau s’enrichit d’images.

Mais tandis que l’on admire
Cette onde où le ciel se mire,
Un zéphyr vient ternir sa surface :
D’un souffle il confond les traits,
L’éclat de tant d’objets s’efface.


This pond that stretches out into the plain,
Repeats, in the very depths of its waters,
The colors of verdant abalones,
Where the green shoots of vines twist.
A pure sky, a cloudless azure,
Keenly, think about it
This picture is enhanced by the images.

But whereas one admires
This shining wave where the sky is mirrored,
A gentle breeze comes to tarnish the its surface:
Within a breath it conflates the features,
The radiance of so many objects fades.


Viens dans ce bocage belle Aminte
Sans contrainte l’on y forme des voeux,
Viens dans ce bocage, belle Aminte,
Il est fait pour les plaisire et les jeux.

Le ramage des oiseaux,
Le mur des eaux,
Tout nous engage
À choisir ce beau séjour,
Pour offrir à l’amour
Un tendr’hommage;
À l’ombre de ses forêts,
Goûtons le biens secrets
D’un aimable badinage,
Nous sommes tous deux dan le bel âge,
De nos chaînes resserrons le noeuds,
Vives aredeurs,
Moments flatteurs,
Que vos douceurs à jamais comblent nos coeurs.


Come to this beautiful field, Aminte
Without misgivings one creates wishes there,
Come to this field, beautiful Aminte,
It is made for pleaseur and games.

The warbling of the birds,
The wall of waters,
Everything persuades us
To choose this beautiful sojourn,
To offer to love
A tender hommage;
In the shade of its forests,
Let’s taste the secret belongings
With a charming banter,
We are both of the right age,
Let us be more tightly entwined,
Rededicate our passion,
Pleasing moments,
May your tenderness forever fill our hearts.

Rober Bourdin

Unfortunately, there is very little information to be found on Roger Bourdin. What I was able to find is the following:

Roger Bourdin studied at the Paris Conservatory, where he was a pupil of André Gresse and Jacques Isnardon. He made his professional début at the Opéra-Comique in 1922, as Lescaut in MANON. His début at the Palais Garnier took place in 1942, in Henri Rabaud’s MÂROUF, SAVETIER DU CAIRE. The major part of his career was to be spent between these two theatres, where he created some 30 roles.

Bourdin seldom performed outside France, but did a few guest appearances at the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. He also sang in the first performance of surviving fragments of Chabrier’s VAUCOCHARD ET FILS IER on 22 April 1941 at the Salle du Conservatoire with Germaine Cernay, conducted by Roger Désormière.

His most memorable roles were: Clavaroche in André Messager’s FORTUNIO, Metternich in Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert’s L’AIGLON, Duparquet in Reynaldo Hahn’s CIBOULETTE, Lheureux in Emmanuel Bondeville’s MADAME BOVARY, the lead in Darius Milhaud’s BOLIVAR, but also standard roles such as Valentin, Athanael, Onegin, and Sharpless. In all he sang an estimated 100 roles throughout his long career.