Régine Crespin sings Lieder and French melodies

Orchestre Philharmonique de l'ORTF - Janine Reiss (piano) - Christian Ivaldi (piano)

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Régine Crespin — Mezzo-soprano

Janine Reiss — Pianist

Christian Ivaldi — Pianist

Program notes

In a Berlioz, Schubert or Poulenc recital, the French lioness live.

Born in Marseille in 1927, Régine Crespin finally gave in to her illness on July 5, 2007. The woman Americans had dubbed the "French Lioness" had battled two cancers, as she recounts in a wonderful memoir (À la ville, à la scène, published by Actes Sud). Fortunately, we still have these archive images of her, taken at different points in her career.

Although her parents envisioned her as a pharmacist, it was at the Paris Opera that Crespin established herself. She captivated Wieland Wagner, who engaged her at Bayreuth, and Karajan, who took her to Salzburg. She was a supreme Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, and a Carmen of the highest class, while she defended Berlioz's colors the world over: her Nuits d'été, in particular, are an absolute reference.

We first meet her in 1965 at a recital in Paris, where she has a musical encounter with Berlioz: in Marguerite from La Damnation de Faust, Le spectre de la rose from Les Nuits d'été and Didon from Les Troyens, she easily convinces us that it's not for nothing that she has made him her favorite composer.

Her taste for great roles did not lead her to neglect the melody and lieder repertoire, to which she devoted much of her time after being appointed professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1976. But before that, she had already lent the warmth of her timbre and her marvellous diction to Ravel's Paon, which she sang in 1972 accompanied by Janine Reiss, then to lieder by Schumann and Schubert, this time with Christian Ivaldi. In 1964, she returned to French melodies with Fauré (Soir) and Duparc (La vie antérieure), ending with Les gars qui vont à la fête by her friend and accomplice Francis Poulenc.

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