Magazine article Opera Canada

Pierrette Alarie/leopold Simoneau. (CDs)

Magazine article Opera Canada

Pierrette Alarie/leopold Simoneau. (CDs)

Article excerpt

Early Recordings, 1952-1953 Disques XX1-CD 2 1459 (2 CDs) * * * (*)

ANTHOLOGIE

Recordings from various sources, 1940-1955 Disques XX1-CD 2 1452 (3 CDs) * * * (*)

Raoul Jobin

ARIAS: AIRS D'OPERA, MELODIES FRANCAISES ET BEL CANTO

Recordings from various sources, 1948-1961

Here are three more valuable and rewarding historical sets from Quebec-based Disques XX1-21 Records, all issued as part of the company's Canadian Heritage series. If high fidelity is important to you, look elsewhere. Not only are these recordings about half a century old, many selections are taken from non-commercial sources, such as radio transcriptions or air checks. Sound is variable as a result, though never totally unacceptable. Alarie and Simoneau are fairly well represented elsewhere (on the Philips and CBC labels, for example), though this is not the case with Jobin or Doucet. As a result, the sets devoted to the latter tenors are particularly valuable, both for presenting little-known recordings and for providing a broad overview of their artistry and style.

Disques XX1-CD 2 1463 (2 CDs) * * * (*)

The Jobin set bears witness to a clarion and ardent tenor, and a wide-ranging repertoire that covers German, French and Italian opera. He was obviously a splendid Pinkerton (judging from the 1940-vintage duet from Madama Butterfly with Eleanor Steber), and an outstanding Don Jose (judging from the various Carmen excerpts on the discs) and Faust (nicely represented from a 1943 Met performance with Licia Albanese and Ezio Pinza). He was just as dramatically effective, however, in less familiar territory: Gluck's Alceste, Wagner's Ring, or religious songs or arias. The overriding impression I have after listening to these discs is of a forthright singer with a very highly tuned musical and dramatic sensibility. He seems to have been a master of letting melodies spin out effortlessly, though always etching their form with subtly shaded dynamics. …

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