Il mese del tenore verdiano XVII: CHARLES DALMORÈS (1871-1939)

„Ah si, ben mio“ (Il Trovatore)

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Dalmorès started as a horn player before he had his voice trained. After his debut as Siegfried (!) at the Théâtre des Arts in Rouen on in 1899 he spent six seasons with the Théâtre de la Monnaie ans sang at London’s Royal Opera House (1904/1905 and 1909-1911). His American debut took place as Faust with New York’s Manhattan Opera Company in December 7, 1906, where he stayed for four years. He was America´s first Julien (Louise) and Jean Gaussin in Massenet´s  He  appeared with the Philadelphia Opera Company between 1908-1910 and with great success with the Chicago Grand Opera Company from 1910 to 1914. Prior to the outbreak of World War I he also performed Wagner in the original language in Berlin and other cities. In 1908-1909, he appeared at the Vienna Court Opera and he undertook the role of Lohengrin in 1908 at the Bayreuth Festival. After World War I Dalmorès returned to France but went back to the United States where he died in 1939.

Apart from the excellence of his musicianship and the imposing power of his declamatory singing, Dalmores was also praised also for his impressive stage presence and acting. One of his most celebrated records is this 1907 version of Manrico’s aria „Ah! si, ben mio“. It offers an admirably smooth legato line and elegant, melancholic phrasing. He does not have the natural vocal fullness and authority of a Paul Franz and he sometimes tries to sound just a bit more heroic than he actually is, but he has the ample phrasing and long breath which you need for Verdi. Listen to a beautifully lyric „Ma pur se nella pagina…“ and „fra quelli estremi aneliti“ and the second „dal ferro stil traffitto“. He even does a decent  trill!

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