Ever on the hunt for good, expressive singing, I came across Jean Panel, who, in his time, was a very well known French tenor. I would have liked to use the French version of Flotow’s “M’appurì, from the opera Martha, which is sung in the original German, Italian, and French, but I could not find the French lyrics. Instead, I decided to use two pieces whose lyrics I could find, at least in French.
I am guilty of repetition. The first piece is from Godard’s Jocelyn. This is the famous lullaby from that opera. I have posted this before, but Planel does such a beautiful job with it that I thought that it was worth posting again.
The second piece is a French translation of Enrico Toselli’s Serenata, from Rimpiato, Op. 6 No. 1.
What I like very much about Planel is that his French is excellent. That may seem to be strange praise addressed to a Frenchman, but very few French people sing well in their own language! French is a very difficult language in which to sing because of the nasal vowels and the élison between consonants and vowels. Furthermore, Planel keeps the sound off his throat and in the resonating spaces of his head. It is a very different way to sing French than we have today. His sound is not pushed or forced; it just flows.
If anyone is interested in learning more about him, there is an “Association Jean-PLANEL”, that can be found on the internet.