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Coloratura SopranoMezzosoprano

Suzanne Danco, Belgian soprano, mezzo soprano

By August 20, 2023No Comments

Suzanne Danco was a light lyric soprano who could also sing in the mezzo range. The words most often associated with her are impeccable and intelligent. The traits remarked on by Howard Taubman in his review of Danco’s first U.S. recital in April 1951 are evident in anything that she sang: resourceful, thoughtful, careful, floating, sustained line, many colored, subtile.

You will notice that all the pieces posted here are from WordPress’s Media Library. This is because I remastered them all. Normally, I don’t do this because it takes time and the selections that I find on YouTube are good enough. But in this case, the transfer from audio to digital just left out a lot of the high frequencies, and this made everything sound muddy, at least to my ears.

1. Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!
Was der Himmel und die Welt
An Geschöpfen in sich hält,
Müssen dessen Ruhm erhöhen,
Mit den Engeln lasst uns heut
Unserm Gott ein Loblied singen,
Dass er uns in Neid und Leid
Allezeit hat beigestanden.

2.Wir beten zu dem Tempel an,
Da Gottes Ehre wohnet,
Da dessen Treu,
So täglich neu,
Mit lauter Segen lohnet.
Wir preisen, was er an uns hat getan.
Muss gleich mein schwacher Mund von seinen Wundern lallen,
So kann ein schlechtes Lob ihm dennoch wohlgefallen.

3. Höchster, mache deine Güte
auch bei unsrer Herrschaft neu.
So soll vor die6 Vatertreu
Auch ein dankbares Gemüte
Durch ein frommes Leben weisen,
Dass wir deine Kinder heissen.

4. Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren
Gott Vater, Sohn, Heiligem Geist!
Der woll in uns vermehren,
Was er uns aus Gnaden verheisst,
Dass wir ihm fest vertrauen,
Gänzlich uns lass’n auf ihn,
Von Herzen auf ihn bauen,
Dass uns’r Herz, Mut und Sinn
Ihm festiglich anhangen;
Drauf singen wir zur Stund:
Amen, wir werdn’s erlangen,
Glaub’n wir zu aller Stund.

5. Alleluja!

1. Raise a shout to God in all lands.
All created things that heaven
And earth contains
Must exalt his glory;
With the angels let us today
Sing a song of acclamation to our God,
Because he has stood with us
In our envy and pity at all times.

2. We worship at the temple
Where God’s honor dwells,
Where his faithfulness,
Thus daily new,
Rewards with pure blessing.
We praise what he has done for us.
Even though my feeble mouth must babble about his wonders,
A simple acclamation can nonetheless please him well.

3. Most High, render your goodness,
also with our government, new.
Thus, for the faithfulness of God the Father,
A thankful disposition, too,
Should show, through a pious life,
That we are called your children.

4. Acclamation and praise with honor be
To God Father, Son, Holy Spirit,
Who would increase in us
What he, out of mercy, promises us;
That we may trust him steadfastly,
Wholly leave ourselves over to him,
Rely on him from the heart,
That our heart, courage, and mind
May adhere steadfastly to him;
Thus we sing at this hour:
Amen, we will obtain it,
If we believe at every hour.

5. Hallelujah.

Debussy, Il pleure dans mon cœur…Ariettes Oubliêes, No. 2

Il pleure dans mon cœur
Comme il pleut sur la ville ;
Quelle est cette langueur
Qui pénètre mon cœur ?

Ô bruit doux de la pluie
Par terre et sur les toits !
Pour un cœur qui s’ennuie,
Ô le chant de la pluie !

Il pleure sans raison
Dans ce cœur qui s’écœure.
Quoi ! nulle trahison ?…
Ce deuil est sans raison.

C’est bien la pire peine
De ne savoir pourquoi
Sans amour et sans haine
Mon cœur a tant de peine !

It is Crying Inside my Heart

It is crying inside my heart
As it is raining over the town;
What is this lethargy
Entering my heart?

Oh sweet sound of the rain
On the ground and on the roofs!
To a bored heart,
Oh the warbling of the rain!

It is crying without any reason
Inside that heart that makes itself sick.
What! No betrayal?…
That mourning is unjustified.

Not knowing the reason why
Is the greatest sorrow
Without love or hatred
My heart deeply is in pain!

G. Charpentier, Louise, “Depuis le jour”,

Depuis le jour où je me suis donnée,
toute fleurie semble ma destinée.
Je crois rêver sous un ciel de féerie,
l’âme encore grisée
de ton premier baiser!
Quelle belle vie!
Mon rêve n’était pas un rêve!
Ah! je suis heureuse!
L’amour étend sur moi ses ailes!
Au jardin de mon coeur
chante une joie nouvelle!

Tout vibre,
tout se réjouit de mon triomphe!
Autour de moi tout est sourire,
lumiére et joie!
Et je tremble délicieusement
Au souvenir charmant
Du premier jour

G. Charpentier, Louise, “Since the day”

Since the day I gave myself
Every flower seems to be my destiny
I think I’m dreaming under a fairy sky
my soul still intoxicated by your first kiss!
What a beautiful life!
My dream wasn’t a dream!
Oh! I’m so happy!
Love is spreading its wings over me!
In the garden of my heart
sings a new joy!

Everything resonates
everything rejoices at my triumph!
All around me everything is smiling
light and joy!
And I’m trembling deliciously
from the charming memory
of the first day
of love!

Schubert, Der Hirt auf dem Fels, Op. posth. 129, D. 965

Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh’,
In’s tiefe Tal hernieder seh’,
Und singe,

Fern aus dem tiefen dunkeln Tal
Schwingt sich empor der Widerhall
Der Klüfte.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
Je heller sie mir wieder klingt
Von unten.

Mein Liebchen wohnt so weit von mir,
Drum sehn’ ich mich so heiß nach ihr

In tiefem Gram verzehr ich mich,
Mir ist die Freude hin,
Auf Erden mir die Hoffnung wich,
Ich hier so einsam bin.

So sehnend klang im Wald das Lied,
So sehnend klang es durch die Nacht,
Die Herzen es zum Himmel zieht
Mit wunderbarer Macht.

Der Frühling will kommen,
Der Frühling, meine Freud’,
Nun mach’ ich mich fertig
Zum Wandern bereit.

Schubert, The Shepard on the Rock, Op. posth. 129, D. 965

When I stand on the highest rock,
Look down into the deep valley
And sing,

From far away in the deep dark valley
The echo from the ravines
Rises up.

The further my voice carries,
The clearer it echoes back to me
From below.

My sweetheart lives so far from me,
Therefore, I long so to be with her
Over there.

Deep grief consumes me,
My joy has fled,
All earthly hope has vanished,
I am so lonely here.

The song rang out so longingly through the wood,
Rang out so longingly through the night,
That is draws hearts to heaven
With wondrous power.

Spring is coming,
Spring, my joy,
I shall now make ready
to wander.

Suzanne Danco
January 22, 1911 – August 10, 2000

Danco was Flemish, born and brought up in Brussels. Her family discouraged her from a career as a musician. On the advice of the eminent conductor Erich Kleiber, she went to Prague to study with the famous teacher Fernando Carpi, before making her stage debut in Italy in 1941 at the Genoa Opera, as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutti, a role that was a favourite with her and with audiences.

After the second world war, she appeared at La Scala as Jocasta in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex and Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes (first performances in Italy of both operas) and at the San Carlo, Naples she sang Marie in the first Italian performance of Berg’s Wozzeck. These roles demonstrated her eclectic taste. She once remarked that she didn’t mind what she sang and enjoyed tackling all kinds of music.

The Swiss conductor, Ernest Ansermet was taken with her talents, and thought her ideal for the French repertory he had just begun recording for Decca with his Suisse Romande Orchestra; she took part in many classic performances on disc with him in the 1950s, including the much admired earlier of Ansermet’s two sets of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. Another recording triumph with Ansermet was as the sexy, scheming Concepcion in L’heure espagnole and as the Princess in L’enfant et les sortilèges, on a Ravel double-bill.

From 1960, Danco’s operatic appearances were few and far between, but she continued her concert career until her final appearance, in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony in 1970. After her retirement she first taught at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and she was a frequent visitor to the Britten-Pears School at Snape.