Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hugues Cuenod's Passing

I just read today that Swiss tenor Hugues-Adhémar Cuénod passed away back on December 6th. He was 108. He gave his last performances when he was 92, as Triquet in Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin.

The two people who introduced me to Cuénod's artistry back in the early 1970s were Michael Wiater and the late Raymond Jaarvi. Michael was excited about Cuénod's work with Nadia Boulanger in the rekindling of interest in the madrigals of the first truly great Baroque composer, Claudio Monteverdi. Raymond had a large collection of LPs with Cuénod singing French chansons.

The image at top left is of Hugh Cuénod singing the role of Emporer in Puccini's Turandot at age 84. It was Cuénod's Metropoitan Opera debut, the oldest age debut in the company's history.

Cuénod's voice had an almost flawless French tone. Her wasn't known as a great operatic actor, but accepted incredibly challenging parts in new works - the Doctor in Alban Berg's Wozzeck and Sellem in Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress.

His record of performances and recordings of chansons is unparalleled. Here he is singing a World War II resistance song by Francois Poulenc, J'ai traversé les ponts de Cé:

Here he is, in 1935, accompanying himself, singing the American spiritual, My Lord, What a Morning:

And here he is as the Captain, in a 1954 Italian production of Wozzeck:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Phil, here's a musical item of potential interest to you: