|The great Jacques Jensen on CD|
The January 2012 issue of BBC Music magazine features their list of the 50 greatest recordings of all time. At #30 is the classic recording of Claude Debussy's "Pelléas and Mélisande" with barihunk Jacques Jansen and soprano Irène Joachim. BBC Music magazine wrote:
Jacques Jansen and Irène Joachim sing "Mes longs cheveux" from "Pelléas and Mélisande":This 1941 recording captures the elusive nuances and mystery of Debussy's symbolist masterpiece like no other. The trio of singers in lead roles - Irène Joachim as Mélisande, Jacques Jansen as Pelléas and Henri Etcheverry as Golaud - had all performed the opera many times together under the direction of Roger Désormière.
The #1 recording of all time is Georg Solti's recording of "Der Ring des Nibelungen" with Kirsten Flagstad, Regine Crespin, Hans Hotter, Birgit Nillson and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. The top non-operatic recording was Carlos Kleiber's recording of Beethoven's 5th and 7th symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jacques Jansen was born in Paris in 1913 and died there in 2002. He became associated with the role of Pelléas like no other singer in history, as his light, high-baritone was perfectly suited for the role. He spent thirty years performing the role around the world and critics marveled at his crystal clear enunciation of the text.
Jacques Jansen sings "Ballades Médiévales":
He also made quite a mark in operetta, singing Eisenstein in “Die Fledermaus,” Duparquet in Reynaldo Hahn's “Ciboulette,” and Count Danilo in Léhar's “The Merry Widow,” which he performed nearly 1,500 times. His original dream was to be an actor, and during World War II, he was featured in a number of movies, including Sacha Guitry's “La Malibran.” He dubbed the singing voice of Alain Cuny in Marcel Carné's “Les Visiteurs du soir” and Jean Marais in “Le Lit à colonnes.”
After World War II, he performed outside of France, including roles in Vienna, Dublin, Amsterdam, London’s Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and Milan’s La Scala. After his retirement, Jansen taught voice until his retirement in 1982.
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