Author Topic: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007  (Read 2882 times)

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pjme

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Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« on: July 05, 2007, 11:12:10 AM »
A sad week for the lovers of opera and song. First Beverly Sills, now the famous French soprano passed away.
We will miss her....A great character, a beautiful voice.



Peter

From Le Nouvel Observateur:

La soprano Régine Crespin est décédée jeudi après-midi à l'âge de 80 ans dans un hôpital parisien, a-t-on appris auprès de sa maison de disques, EMI, qui n'a pu préciser les causes du décès. Le président Nicolas Sarkozy a aussitôt salué la mémoire d'"une grande voix française".

Née en 1927 à Marseille, Régine Crespin a fait ses classes au Conservatoire de musique de Paris, obtenant trois premiers prix en chant, opéra et opéra-comique. Considérée comme une grande voix de l'opéra français, la soprano débute en 1948 à Reims.

Artiste lyrique au Théâtre national de l'Opéra, elle se produit dans différents théâtres. Reconnue pour ses talents lyriques, elle interprète les premiers rôles dans "Lohengrin" ou "Tannhäuser" de Wagner, "Le chevalier à la rose" de Richard Strauss, "Carmen" de Bizet. Elle se produit dans les plus grandes salles et grands festivals à Bayreuth, Vienne, Berlin, Londres ou encore New York.

Saluée dans le monde entier pour ses talents de cantatrice, Régine Crespin enseignait sa passion du chant au Conservatoire depuis 1980. "Par sa voix, son talent mais aussi son humour et sa générosité, Régine Crespin a été une grande ambassadrice de la culture française. Elle nous quitte aujourd'hui mais nous nous rappellerons toujours ses interprétations impérissables", précise Nicolas Sarkozy dans un communiqué. AP

« Last Edit: July 05, 2007, 11:13:51 AM by pjme »

Offline Anne

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2007, 03:03:41 PM »
Soprano Régine Crespin, One of France's Great Voices, Dies at 80

By Matthew Westphal
July 5, 2007

Régine Crespin, a dramatic soprano who became one of the most acclaimed
singers France produced in the 20th century, died today in a Paris hospital
at age 80. Her longtime record label, EMI, revealed the news, which was
reported by Agence France-Presse and the television channel France 2. No
cause of death has yet been announced.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to the late singer today:
"Through her voice and her talent but also through her humor and her
generosity, Régine Crespin was a great ambassador for French culture. She
leaves us today but we will always remember her enduring performances."

Born in 1927 in Marseilles, Crespin grew up in Nîmes and had planned to be a
pharmacist, according to France 2. She won a vocal contest in her mid-teens
and went on to study at the Conservatoire de Paris, where she took three
prizes.

She made her professional debut 1948 as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. By
1950 she was singing Wagner: she took the role of Elsa in Lohengrin in the
city of Mulhouse. In 1951 she made her Paris debut at the Opéra-Comique; the
following year she appeared at the Paris Opéra for the first time; her roles
were Marguérite in Gounod's Faust and Tosca. Soon after, she sang her first
Marschallin in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, a role that would become one of
her most celebrated, and in which she made her Vienna State Opera and
Glyndebourne debuts in 1959.

This variety points up a key aspect of Crespin's career: she regularly
performed in the German and Italian standard repertoire alongside her work
in French opera. (She was renowned for her acting skills, and her diction,
in all three languages.) In her memoirs she observed proudly that she sang
German roles in Bayreuth and Vienna and Italian roles at La Scala, while
(for instance) Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Renata Tebaldi never sang in French
at the Paris Opéra.

Other Italian parts for which Crespin was known, in addition to Tosca, were
Desdemona in Verdi's Otello and Amelia in the same composer's Un ballo in
maschera. Other prominent Wagner roles she sang included Kundry in Parsifal
(with which she made her Bayreuth debut in 1958) and Elisabeth in
Tannhäuser. In the French repertoire she was noted, in addition to Charlotte
and Marguérite, for Cassandre and Didon in Berlioz's Les Troyens.

One opera with which she is indelibly associated is Poulenc's Dialogues des
Carmélites. She sang the role of the New Prioress in the French premiere of
the work in 1957; 30 years later, she played the Old Prioress — in English —
in the Metropolitan Opera's televised production which also starred Maria
Ewing, Florence Quivar and Jessye Norman.

During the 1970s Crespin gradually gave up the soprano repertoire and moved
into mezzo roles; she sang her first Carmen in Miami in 1972.

In 1989 she undertook an international farewell tour and gave her final
stage performance at the Palais Garnier.

Among Crespin's important recordings are the Marschallin in Rosenkavalier
(with Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic), Berlioz's Les Nuits d'été
and Ravel's Shéhérazade (with Ernst Ansermet and the Orchestre de la Suisse
Romande), and two different roles in Wagner's Die Walküre: Sieglinde (with
Solti and the Vienna) and Brünnhilde (with Herbert von Karajan and the
Berlin Philharmonic).

In later life she was a widely respected teacher: She was on the faculty of
the Paris Conservatoire from 1976 to 1992 and gave master classes across the
world. She was named a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the
French government, and a special hybrid rose was created in her honor in
1990.



Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2007, 11:05:53 PM »
Gosh, too many have upped and left over the past couple years. An era is REALLY over, that of the 20th century...

ZB
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2007, 05:36:56 AM »
I feel lucky to have heard her just once, in the mid-1980s at the Met in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites, in the spectacular production by John Dexter (photo below).  Although she was near the end of her career, she was perfectly suited for the role of the Old Prioress.

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Boris_G

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2007, 01:44:42 PM »
Alas, I never saw her or heard her 'live', but I absolutely treasure her recording of Poulenc songs with that much overlooked pianist, John Wustman: 'Hotel' is just a dream.

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2007, 02:10:43 PM »
Although she had a fabulous voice, she didn't make much of an imprint on me as a singing actress. She was very much the grande dame regardless of the role at hand. I suppose that's why the Marschallin was one of her best roles. I would venture to say that she was a french Tebaldi, with all the virtues and deficiencies this entails. That's a gross oversimplification of course, and the two singers did not share the exact same repertoire, but you get the drift.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2007, 08:32:07 PM »
Although she had a fabulous voice, she didn't make much of an imprint on me as a singing actress. She was very much the grande dame regardless of the role at hand. I suppose that's why the Marschallin was one of her best roles. I would venture to say that she was a french Tebaldi, with all the virtues and deficiencies this entails. That's a gross oversimplification of course, and the two singers did not share the exact same repertoire, but you get the drift.

A tribute to Crespin was recently aired on Mezzo TV (French Classical Music Station). She seemed to excel in the French repertoire: Ravel, Berlioz, etc. There have been discussions about her in the old and new forum. Some were not impressed with her but I found those objections when she was singing soprano. The shoe fit much better when she reverted to mezzo-soprano. Her diction in French is a lesson anytime.

ZB
"I write to discover what I know."
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Lilas Pastia

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2007, 03:23:57 AM »
True, but although diction is very important, the will or capacity to communicate is just as important. Listen to Suzanne Danco for example. Even though she's a true lyric soprano (making diction even harder in the higher range), every word comes out crystal clear and with a meaning..

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2007, 07:33:11 AM »
True, but although diction is very important, the will or capacity to communicate is just as important. Listen to Suzanne Danco for example. Even though she's a true lyric soprano (making diction even harder in the higher range), every word comes out crystal clear and with a meaning..

With all due respect, I didn't say that Crespin didn't communicate. In fact, she seemed to have done it very well. She seemed to like being onstage and the clear diction was definitely getting a message across, rather then syllables set to music.

ZB
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 ― Flannery O'Connor

Lilas Pastia

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2007, 12:55:41 PM »
I didn't say you did, or that she didn't. But if you compare with Danco (or Souzay) you'll understand Crespin's communicative gifts were not optimal. Like Tebaldi or Sutherland, her emotional range couldn't be enhanced even through very clear diction.

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2007, 06:40:13 PM »
I didn't say you did, or that she didn't. But if you compare with Danco (or Souzay) you'll understand Crespin's communicative gifts were not optimal. Like Tebaldi or Sutherland, her emotional range couldn't be enhanced even through very clear diction.

I'll take Crespin anyday over Danco. The "vibrato" Harry was complaining about some sopranos, Danco has it to a most irritating degree. I personally am extremely distracted by it so any alleged communicative abilities simply go out the window. One has to get technique out of the way before any attempts to deliver a message.

ZB
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Lilas Pastia

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2007, 06:05:37 AM »
What you find 'most irritating ' has been described rather differently by many

Quote
Hers was a voice distinguished by its purity--small wonder why Ernest Ansermet chose her for his first recording of Pelléas et Mélisande. As an interpreter she embodied contradictory virtues, an overall coolness coupled with surprising passion when the music required it, yet a passion that smolders, never bursting into flame. She could point the text, but without ever breaking the line or calling attention to such little emphases--a skill that often becomes apparent only after several hearings of a piece, when it can be savored all the more for its subtlety. Add to her cool style a narrow vibrato and focused pitch, and "elegant" is the word that comes to mind about Danco's singing. Unfortunately, elegance is a quality rarely in evidence these days, often carrying the pejorative connotation of "emotionless" or "cold", qualities furthest from what we hear on this disc.
From this review. And there are many others who hear her in this way (just google).

I don't dispute your preferences, but I don't think you should come to the conclusion that her vibrato was a technical fault. Unless generations of french singing pre-1970 mean nothing to you.

Boris_G

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2007, 11:49:59 AM »
I didn't say you did, or that she didn't. But if you compare with Danco (or Souzay) you'll understand Crespin's communicative gifts were not optimal. Like Tebaldi or Sutherland, her emotional range couldn't be enhanced even through very clear diction.

I suspect this is a matter of taste: better experts than me (eg Roger Nichols) rate Crespin's communicative artistry extremely highly, and I certainly think it's there in abundance in the Decca set which includes the Poulenc songs I mentioned above (try also her performance of Ravel's Sheherazade).

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2007, 11:59:49 AM »
What you find 'most irritating ' has been described rather differently by many
And there are many others who hear her in this way (just google).
I don't dispute your preferences, but I don't think you should come to the conclusion that her vibrato was a technical fault. Unless generations of french singing pre-1970 mean nothing to you.

Some people liked Beverly Sills too but I didn't.
Lily Pons was definitely pre-1970. She wound up at the Met from the 30's and owned most of the French roles.
As a coloratura, she was different from Crespin whom I believe was a mezzo but they both sang cleanly.
Danco singing "Voi che sapete" seemed rather a misfit as her voice was more reminiscent of Pons and Rita Striech.

ZB
"I write to discover what I know."
 ― Flannery O'Connor

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2007, 06:09:56 AM »
Found some more good clips of Crespin. Really like the lady (as a mezzo soprano).

"Spectre de la Rose"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8k71hb5Q04

"Soir" by Faure
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIbn56vgNLk

A short Schubert song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q_1xNKmlDI&mode=related&search=

ZB





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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2018, 05:10:27 PM »
This thread clearly needs a *bump*.

I'm in the process of discovering Crespin's voice through Warner's/EMI's recent compilation of her recitals.  No Crespin fans at GMG for the last 11 years?
A write-up in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2007/jul/07/guardianobituaries.obituaries


Airs d'Operas           Régine Crespin/Ackermann/Orchestre du theatre national del l'opera

A wonderful encounter (especially the Verdi and Gounod selections) with Crespin's intriguing voice - powerful, warm and vibrant.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 05:50:43 PM by Moonfish »
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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2018, 01:27:26 AM »
Crespin is one of those singers I have equivocal feelings about.  I like her more in French chansons than I do in Italian opera. Even in French chanson, I think she has her limitations. I love her famous recording of Shéhérazade, whilst finding her a tad too cool for the passions of Les Nuits D'Eté, and that tends to be my objection to her. A wonderfully stylish singer, perfect in the suave sophistication of a Paris salon, but too reserved for the music of Verdi, Puccini and Wagner. I often get the impression she doesn't want to become too passionately involved for fear of mussing her perfectly coiffed hair.

I tried listening to the recent Warner box, which starts with mostly Verdi and Wagner, and, though her singing is always musical, always stylish, I miss the emotional charge others bring to it.

There is an interesting story about some late recording sessions Callas was doing in Paris. Callas was in parlous voice, and the sessions had not progressed easily. Most of the arias were released after her death, though she did agree to a few of the arias being released in the 1970s prior to her last concert tour with Di Stefano. The conductor Nicola Rescigno recalls that at one particularly tense session, the producer, Michel Glotz, suggested that they all take a break, during which he played a recording of Crespin singing Aida's Ritorna vincitor, which had been taped the previous day. Callas was incensed at a performance so antithetical to her artistic sensibilities. "This isn't Verdi or Aida. When I did this with Maestro Serafin he wanted such agitation, I could hardly get the words out. This is like a funeral march." Turning to Glotz, she asked him if the parts were still there. When he affirmed that they were, she said to Rescigno, "Come on, Nicola, let's do it." Callas always responded to a challenge and delivered in one take a performance of blazing intensity, her vocal problems temporarily forgotten. It is the best performance of all those late recording sessions.

It is this level of passion, commitment and drama I find missing in so many of Crespin's recordings. Where elegance, sophistication, sensuousness and irony are required she is incomparable.
 
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 01:39:50 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2018, 09:17:51 AM »
Régine Crespin Sings Wagner           Régine Crespin/Prêtre/Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française

An interesting recording. I entered it with Crespin's fame as a Wagner singer in my mind and must admit that I was a little bit disappointed. The recording is warm and clear, Prêtre's orchestration definitely embraces the artist and Crespin certainly sings well within the storm of music. However, she seems a little bit separate from the moment in the arias - there is a distance in the singing. Perhaps I'm influenced by Tsaraslondon's previous post in the thread, but I definitely agree with that passion matters in Wagner. The singing is eloquent and wonderfully done, but I don't feel the heartache I normally experience with Wagner's music. Not sure why. Is it the passion aspect that Tsaraslondon pointed out? Still, wonderful performances depending on what one is looking for in Wagner's music. Especially her renditions of the Wesendonck Lieder which are excellent. I can see how the recording won a prize and these are certainly performances I will return to over time.

« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 09:34:23 AM by Moonfish »
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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2018, 09:31:16 AM »
Crespin is one of those singers I have equivocal feelings about.  I like her more in French chansons than I do in Italian opera. Even in French chanson, I think she has her limitations. I love her famous recording of Shéhérazade, whilst finding her a tad too cool for the passions of Les Nuits D'Eté, and that tends to be my objection to her. A wonderfully stylish singer, perfect in the suave sophistication of a Paris salon, but too reserved for the music of Verdi, Puccini and Wagner. I often get the impression she doesn't want to become too passionately involved for fear of mussing her perfectly coiffed hair.

I tried listening to the recent Warner box, which starts with mostly Verdi and Wagner, and, though her singing is always musical, always stylish, I miss the emotional charge others bring to it.

There is an interesting story about some late recording sessions Callas was doing in Paris. Callas was in parlous voice, and the sessions had not progressed easily. Most of the arias were released after her death, though she did agree to a few of the arias being released in the 1970s prior to her last concert tour with Di Stefano. The conductor Nicola Rescigno recalls that at one particularly tense session, the producer, Michel Glotz, suggested that they all take a break, during which he played a recording of Crespin singing Aida's Ritorna vincitor, which had been taped the previous day. Callas was incensed at a performance so antithetical to her artistic sensibilities. "This isn't Verdi or Aida. When I did this with Maestro Serafin he wanted such agitation, I could hardly get the words out. This is like a funeral march." Turning to Glotz, she asked him if the parts were still there. When he affirmed that they were, she said to Rescigno, "Come on, Nicola, let's do it." Callas always responded to a challenge and delivered in one take a performance of blazing intensity, her vocal problems temporarily forgotten. It is the best performance of all those late recording sessions.

It is this level of passion, commitment and drama I find missing in so many of Crespin's recordings. Where elegance, sophistication, sensuousness and irony are required she is incomparable.

Great post, Tsaraslondon! I think I have to agree with you in terms of the "passion aspect" (see the post above - Wagner). Still, she is an excellent singer at this point in her career with a full-bodied voice. Her renditions of the Wesendonck Lieder are very good indeed. It is interesting to explore her recitals in this recent Warner compilation.

I loved your Callas story. I can definitely imagine how Callas reacted and went out on a limb to bring in the passion of the musical moment. We are fortunate that have so many recordings of her magnificent voice. One of my favorite recordings with her is the live Aida from Mexico City - it definitely made me a Callas fan for life. Thanks for sharing Callas' encounter with the Crespin recording. It makes one think about the artists in a new way.
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Re: Régine Crespin 1927 - 2007
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2018, 01:13:45 PM »
Régine Crespin Sings Wagner           Régine Crespin/Prêtre/Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française

An interesting recording. I entered it with Crespin's fame as a Wagner singer in my mind and must admit that I was a little bit disappointed. The recording is warm and clear, Prêtre's orchestration definitely embraces the artist and Crespin certainly sings well within the storm of music. However, she seems a little bit separate from the moment in the arias - there is a distance in the singing. Perhaps I'm influenced by Tsaraslondon's previous post in the thread, but I definitely agree with that passion matters in Wagner. The singing is eloquent and wonderfully done, but I don't feel the heartache I normally experience with Wagner's music. Not sure why. Is it the passion aspect that Tsaraslondon pointed out? Still, wonderful performances depending on what one is looking for in Wagner's music. Especially her renditions of the Wesendonck Lieder which are excellent. I can see how the recording won a prize and these are certainly performances I will return to over time.


Thinking about it again, I'm not sure if "passion" is the right word, for passion is not exactly what one is looking for in say, Elsa's Einsam in trüben Tagen, but I don't get the same sense of engagement that I do with, for instance, Schwarzkopf or Grümmer; that quickening of the heartbeat as the knight approaches. Nor, in Elisabeth's Dich, teure Halle do I hear the same sense of rapture I get from the two aforementioned sopranos.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas