11 – Dutch baritone Henri Albers (1866-1926) in Herodiade (Massenet)

An outstanding baritone, he could learn his part almost photographically in one day in a gallery of more than 140 roles. When his life-size portrait as “Hamlet” by Alfred Bastien was presented to him during an official ceremony at the Monnaie, he fainted, overcome by emotion. He left a recording legacy.

Henri Albers - Saint-Saens - “Samson et Dalila”: Maudite a jamais


12 – French bass Marcel Journet (1866-1933) as Méphistophélès (« Faust »), Opéra de Paris, 1931, one of the most memorable “Devils” of his generation …

This distinguished bass scored great successes throughout the world. Belgian tenor Fernand Ansseau (1890-1972) recalled that “his voice was as powerful as an organ”.

A born actor, he could tackle comic and dramatic parts alike, which all gave rise to long standing ovations and encores. He left a recording legacy.

Marcel Journet - Le Veau D`Or from Gounod`s Faust


14 – French tenor Edmond Clément (1867-1928) as a menacing Don José (“Carmen”), Monnaie, Brussels, 1907, a role he sang successfully 180+ times, thanks to his dramatic instinct and handsome look…

Clément exemplified tonal beauty and phrasing, with a voice ideally tailored to opéra-comique, but in New York, his appearances were challenged by those of Enrico Caruso. Wounded during WW1, he reduced his operatic appearances and taught at Nice. He left a recording legacy.

Edmond Clement - Pêcheurs de perles (Bizet) - Au fond du temple saint (with Journet)


16 – Belgian tenor Laurent Swolfs (1867-1954) as Samson (“Samson et Dalila”), Monnaie, Brussels, 1906, sadly a sign of bad omen for him…

A dramatic tenor, reputed for his instinctive musicality and pathos, singing in five languages. After an illustrious career, he taught in Brussels.

Almost blind, he fell down the stairs of his home and died soon after! Author of an informative autobiography: « Souvenirs de Théâtre et de Coulisses”. He left a recording legacy.

Laurent Swolfs - Serenade (Gounod), in Dutch, circa 1910


17 – French bass André Gresse (1868-1937) as an impressive Osmin in « Die Entführung aus dem Serail », Opéra Comique, 1905.

Endowed with an extended voice and an infectious ‘vis comica’, this versatile bass mastered a repertoire of more than 125 roles. A fixture at the Opéra and a respected musical figure, he taught at the Paris Conservatoire, forming many leading singers. He left a recording legacy.

17- Andre Gresse - Galathée - Acte I, air et scène de Pygmalion - Tristes amours.


20 – French soprano and actress Georgette Leblanc (1869-1941) as Anita (“La Navarraise”), Nice, 1912 at the center of a dispute over “Mélisande”…

Her companion, Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949), author of “Pelléas et Mélisande”, tried to convince Claude Debussy to let her create “Mélisande” in 1902, to no avail: a quarrel ensued and Mary Garden won.

Leblanc’s voice was rather conventional, but she was a remarkable actress. She left a recording legacy.

Georgette Leblanc - Thais - L`amour est une vertu