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Janine Micheau, French lyric coloratura soprano

By April 1, 2024No Comments

It surprises me that Janine Micheau is not better known today. She had a beautiful voice and was a gifted coloratura. She had excellent vocal production; there was no drag on her voice and no pressure on the air flowing through her vocal cords. Today, more often than not, we get both of these problems, and the vocal production suffers because of it. I hope that you enjoy her singing.

Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria”

Ave Maria
gratia plena
Dominus tecum
Et benedicta tu
In mulieribus
Et benedictus
Fructus ventris tui Jesu!

Sancta Maria
Sancta Maria, Maria
Ora pro nobis
Nobis peccatoribus
Nunc et in hora
In hora mortis nostrae
Amen, Amen

Bach/Gounod “Hail Mary”

Hail Mary
Full of grace
The Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit
Of thy womb Jesus!

Holy Mary
Holy Mary, Mary
Pray for us
Us sinners
Now and in the hour
In the hour of our death
Amen, Amen

Gounod, Roméo et Juliette, “Je veux vivre”

Ah

Je veux vivre
Dans ce rêve
Qui m’enivre
Ce jour encore

Douce flamme
Je te garde
Dans mon âme
Comme un trésor

Je veux vivre
Dans ce rêve
Qui m’enivre
Ce jour encore

Douce flamme
Je te garde
Dans mon âme
Comme un trésor

Cette ivresse
De jeunesse
Ne dure, hélas, qu’un jour
Puis vient l’heure
Où l’on pleure
Le coeur cède à l’amour
Et le bonheur fuit sans retour

Ah
Je veux vivre
Dans ce rêve
Qui m’enivre
Ce jour encore

Douce flamme
Je te garde
Dans mon âme
Comme un trésor

Loin de l’hiver morose
Laisse-moi
Laisse-moi sommeiller
Et respirer la rose
Respirer la rose
Avant de l’effeuiller

Ah, ah, ah, ah
Douce flamme
Reste dans mon âme
Comme un doux trésor
Longtemps encore

Ah
Comme un trésor
Longtemps encore

Gounod, Roméo et Juliette, Juliette’s Walz

Oh

I want to live
In this dream
That intoxicates me
Today again.

Sweet flame
I am keeping you
In my soul
Like a treasure

I want to live
In this dream
That intoxicates me
Today again

Sweet flame
I am keeping you
In my soul
Like a treasure.

This youthful intoxication
Only lasts, alas, one day
Then comes the time
In which one weeps
The heart yields to love
And happiness flees without return

Ah
I want to live
In this dream
That intoxicates me
Today again

Sweet flame
I am keeping you
In my soul
Like a treasure

Far from the sad winter
Let me, let me sleep
And breathe the rose
Before pulling off its petals

Ah, ah, ah, ah
Sweet flame
Stay in my soul
Like a treasure
For a long time yet

Ah
Like a treasure
For a long time yet.

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
D’amour!

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 thrills
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!

Compare to Callas:

Janine Micheau
April 17, 1914 – October 18, 1976

Micheau held a prominent place in the history of modern singing, both as a coloratura and lyric soprano. One of the most important stage roles she created was Melisande in Debussy’s Pelleas et Mélisande, which she sang for the first time in 1937 in Amsterdam and later also performed several times on the French stage, as well as in San Francisco and at the Maggio Musicale in Florence. She was closely associated artistically with the composer Darius Milhaud, performing in the premieres of his Medee (Paris 1940) and Bolivar (1943) as well as in the concert premiere of the second version of his Christoph Colomb (1956). She was the first singer to perform several of his vocal compositions_. Micheau also had a rather close association with Francis Poulenc, who as a pianist occasionally accompanied her recitals.Janine Micheau sang a number of opera roles for the first time in France. In 1943 she was the first Parisian Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos 1953 and in the first French Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress.

Micheau was born in Toulouse on April 17, 1914. She received her first musical training at the conservatory there and later studied at Paris Conservatoire, where her teacher was Marguerite Carre, a formerly celebrated soprano who in 1914 had sung the title role in the premiere of Charpentier’s opera Louise. The opera was also of significance for Janine Micheau, who made her stage debut in Louise on November 16, 1933. However, the young singer sang only the supporting role of the newspaper girl in this first performance at the Opera-Comique in Paris. Her first larger role soon followed: Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. A short time later she scored extraordinary success at the Paris Opera and continued to work at both Parisian houses. Guest performances took her to London (1937 Micaela in Carmen at the Covent Garden Opera), and she also performed in Italy, America, Belgium and the Netherlands. In addition to those mentioned above, her roles included Mimi in La Boheme, Leila in Bizet’s Les Pecheurs de perles and the child in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortileges. Her stage repertoire ranged from baroque opera (Rameau, Gluck) to contemporary works. She was also a singer of extra­ordinary standing in the concert and lieder repertoire. In 1956 she accepted a professorship at the Paris Conservatoire, but continued her singing career until after 1960. She also taught at Salzburg’s Mozarteum.