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NH 0203
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NH 0203

MASSENET: Manon (Feraldy / Opera-Comique) (1928-1929)

The Classical Shop
release date: August 2008

Originally recorded in 2008


Elie Cohen

Andre Gaudin


Louis Guenot


Andree Bernadet


Germaine Feraldy


Marinette Fenoyer


Emile de Creus


Record Label



Total Time - 141:44
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1 Act I: Prelude 3:26
2 Act I: Hola! He! Monsieur I'hotelier? 2:18
3 Act I: Hors d'oeuvre de choix! 2:06
4 Act I: Entendez-vous la cloche... Allez a l'auberge voisine... Les voila! 4:49
5 Act I: Je suis encore tout etourdie 3:21
6 Act I: Hotelier de malheur! Il est donc entendu 2:37
7 Act I: Il vous parlait, Manon?... 3:08
8 Act I: Restons ici... Voyons, Manon, Plus de chimeres! 2:54
9 Act I: Quelqu'un... J'ai marque l'heure du depart... Et je sais votre nom 6:36
10 Act I: Nous vivrons a Paris tous les deux!... Plus un sous! 2:22
11 Act II: Manon! Avez-vous peur que mon visage 6:49
12 Act II: Enfin, les amoureux 8:15
13 Act II: Allons! Il le faut!... Adieu, notre petite table 2:31
14 Act II: C’est lui!... Instant charmant... En fermant les yeux...Oh! Ciel! deja! 5:23
15 Act III: Scene 1: Entr’acte 2:21
16 Act III: Scene 1: Voyez mules a fleurettes! 4:06
17 Act III: Scene 1: A quoi bon l'economie... Bonjour, Poussette! 4:55
18 Act III: Scene 1: Voici les elegantes!... Suis-je gentille ainsi? 2:20
19 Act III: Scene 1: Je marche sur tous les chemins 2:25
20 Act III: Scene 1: Obeissons quand leur voix appelle 3:27

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1 Act III: Scene 1: Et maintenant restez seul 1:59
2 Act III: Scene 1: C'est elle? Oui, c'est Manon! 3:38
3 Act III: Scene 1: Repondez-moi, Guillot!...Voici l'Opera! 3:07
4 Act III: Scene 1: Ballet...C'est fete au Cours-la-Reine! 6:57
5 Act III: Scene 2: Quelle eloquence! 2:57
6 Act III: Scene 2: Bravo, mon cher... Epouse quelque brave fille 3:31
7 Act III: Scene 2: Je suis seul!...Ah! fuyez, douce image 4:18
8 Act III: Scene 2: Pardonnez-moi, Dieu de toute puissance 1:16
9 Act III: Scene 2: Toi! Vous!... Oui! Je fus cruelle et coupable! 3:12
10 Act III: Scene 2: N'est-ce plus ma main 3:53
11 Act IV: Faites vos jeux, Messieurs!... C'est ici que celle que j'aime... J'enfourche aussi Pegase 2:21
12 Act IV: Mais, qui donc nous arrive... Manon! Sphinx etonnant 5:04
13 Act IV: Un mot, s'il vous plait... Ce bruit de l'or 3:01
14 Act IV: Au jeu! au jeu! 4:40
15 Act IV: Oui, je viens t'arracher a la honte 2:40
16 Act V: Manon! Pauvre Manon!... Capitaine, o gue 4:41
17 Act V: O Manon! Manon! Tu pleures... Ah! Je sens une pure flamme... 8:20
 Andree Bernadet soprano
 Emile de Creus tenor
 Marinette Fenoyer soprano
 Germaine Feraldy soprano
 Andre Gaudin baritone
 Louis Guenot bass-baritone
 Elie Cohen

Massenet’s Manon was the second complete opera to have been recorded by French Columbia, the first having been Bizet’s Carmen. Both recordings were released in Europe as well as America and remained in the catalogue until the close of the 78rpm era. By the year 1932, three additional recordings of Carmen had become available to the record buying public but this version of Massenet’s most popular opera remained unchallenged for more than twenty-five years.

The sound of this recording is extremely good for its time possessing an excellent balance between the singers and the orchestra. Its major flaw, however, is the fact that it was recorded in an acoustically dead studio with the singers placed a bit too close to the microphone. I have taken the liberty of adding a small amount of artificial reverberation which will, hopefully, give the performance a more pleasant sound without detracting from its immediacy. I have transferred the recording from two sets of French and two sets of American pressings, all in mint condition. I compared all copies of each side and chose the one which yielded the quietest surface without compromising the recorded sound. In fact, some of the American pressings, though quieter, occasionally lacked sonic vividness. In such cases, I opted to use the slightly noisier French pressings. I also used several stylus sizes to achieve optimum reproduction.

It took several months to complete this recording, and consequently, it possesses certain inconsistencies that I should mention. First, glancing at the cast list, one can’t help but notice that several minor rôles were shared by two or even three different singers depending upon the particular side. This is probably due to the fact that Columbia used whoever might have been available on any particular day. So long as the important singers were present, the others were left to chance. The second inconsistency concerns the recorded sound. Considering the fact that the performance heard here was recorded over a number of sessions, the actual sound is remarkably consistent from one side to another. It should be noted, however, that two sides in Act I were defectively recorded. The first of these is side two (matrix WLX730) which begins with the words "Allons Messieurs." The sound here is extremely distorted and strident, resisting my best efforts at improvement. The same sonic flaw afflicts side five (matrix WLX729) beginning "Hôtelier de malheur." Finally, I should mention that there is an inconsistency in speed, not only from one side to another but also within particular individual sides. In remastering this recording, I have attempted to correct the pitch whenever necessary.


"Now, it is available on two CDs and it hasn’t lost a thing in its re-issue. Ward Marston, noted for his tender loving care of old recordings, of which he personally has a vast collection, is responsible for this one, and he hasn’t missed a trick. It has been reproduced with sympathy and care."

Annie Dendy - Worcester Evening News - May 2003

"The Naxos label has reissued an even older performance of Massenet’s ’Manon,’ recorded in 1928 and 1929 with Germaine Feraldy in the title role. This is a famous set, featuring the chorus and orchestra of the Opera-Comique in Paris under the direction of Elie Cohen. Not surprisingly, considering its source, this is a light rendition of ’Manon’ that occasionally seems closer to operetta than to grand opera. Feraldy is an endearing, delicate heroine, and Joseph Rogatchewsky’s interpretation of Des Grieux, despite the tenor’s Ukrainian heritage and upbringing, couldn’t sound much more French. As the critic Tully Potter observed, ’The superb cast sings in a conversational fashion that is a lost art today. The ’highlights’ are not thrown away, but they take their natural place in the scheme of things, rather than being emphasized.’ Indeed, despite the opera’s tragic ending, it is the charm of happier passages, their chatter and patter, that remains with the listener long after this ’Manon’ has finished playing."

Tim Page - The Washington Post - May 2003

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