La Boheme (Giacomo Puccini) Premiere, 1 February 1896. Cesira Ferrani (Mimi) and Evan Gorga (Rodolfo)

Feb 21, 2015

Louis Azéma (Bass) (Agde, Herault / department, France 1876 - Montmorency, France 1963)

                                                                Don Basilio

He studied singing at the Paris Conservatoire under Isnardon. In 1901 he made his debut at the Opéra de Lyon in ‘’Les Huguenots’’of G. Meyerbeer. In 1903 he sang in Nantes, the next year at the Théâtre de la Haye in the Hague. He married to the mezzo-soprano Jeanne Billa-Azéma (1879-1967), who was engaged together with him by the Opéra-Comique in Paris (1905), where as a beginning role he sang Don Basilio in G. Rossini's ‘’Il Barbiere di Siviglia’’. Till 1930 he was a highly respected member of this opera house. Here he appeared in the premieres of ''Les Pêcheurs de Saint Jean'' by Ch. Marie Widor (1905), ''Ariane et barbe-blue'' by P. Dukas (1907), ‘’Macbeth’’ of  E. Bloch (1910), ‘’La Jota’’of R. Laparra (1911), ‘’La Sorcière’’ by C. Erlanger (1912), ‘’Marouf’’ of H. Rabaud (1914), ‘’Le Roi Candaule’’ of A. Bruneau (1920) and ‘’Dans l'Ombre de la Cathédrale’’ of G. Hüe (1921). His extensive repertoire included sultan in ‘’Marouf’’, Nilakantha in ‘’Lakmé’’, Arkel in ‘’Pelléas et Mélisande’’, Daland in ''Fliegenden Holländer'', Lothario in ''Mignon'', Sulpice in ''La fille du Régiment'', Louis XII in ''La Basoche''. After his retirement, he became in 1941 a manager of the Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse. Later he lived in Paris and been active again as a painter. Several his portraits have been attached in the entrance hall of the Opéra-Comique.

Chronology of some appearances

1901 Lyon Opéra
1904 Hague Théâtre de la Haye 
1905 Paris Opéra-Comique


Ultima (later Perfectaphone, Corona, Opéra, Arya), Paris 1905?
Mignon (Thomas): Mignon (Thomas): Berceuse 429

Hubert Paty (Bass) (Seraing, Belgique 1865 - ? 1944)

He studied singing at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1896 he made his debut at the Grand Opéra in Paris as an old Hebrew in ''Samson et Dalila'' by C. Saint-Saëns. He remained engaged till 1902 in this famous opera house, where among other things he appeared as Marcel in G. Meyerbeer's ''Les Huguenots'', Zacharia in ''Le Prophet'', Don Gomez in ''Le Cid'', Gessler in G. Rossini's ''Guglielmo Tell'', Sparafucile in ''Rigoletto'', Ramphis in ''Aida'' and the king in ''Hamlet'' of A. Thomas. After 1902 he appeared at the different operatic stages of the French province and sang in the 1905-1906 season at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. Then in the 1908-1909 season he appeared again at the Paris Grand Opéra, now as Giscon in ''Salammbô'' of E. Reyer, Grand Inquisitor in G. Meyerbeer's ''L' Africaine'', Frère Laurent in ''Roméo et Juliette'' by C. Gounod, Dan in ''Joseph'' of E. Méhul and as Fafner in ''Siegfried'' of  R. Wagner.

Chronology of some appearances

1896-1902 Paris Grand Opéra
1905-1906 Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie
1908-1909 Paris Grand Opéra


G&T, Paris 1901
Zauberflöte (Mozart): La haine et la colère 32091 644G

Berthe Auguez de Montalant (Soprano) (Baltimore 1865 – Nice 1937)

First she studied singing under Armand Chevé, then at the Conservatoire de Bordeaux. Here she won several prices. In 1899 she made her debut at the Opéra-Comique in Paris as Léonore in ‘’Fidelio’’.

Chronology of appearance

1899 Paris Opéra-Comique


G&T, Paris 1907
Ave Maria (Gounod) with chorus 33649 5112h
La procession, pt 1 (Franck) 33652 5117h
La procession, pt 2 (Franck) 33653 5118h

Gramophone, Paris 1908-10
Africaine (Meyerbeer): Air du sommeil 33715 6486h
Porcherons (Grisar): Romance de la lettre 033067 855i
Panis angelicus (Franck) with Leon Beyle 34200 5843½h
Marie-Magdeleine (Massenet): Heureux ceux qui vivront with Leon Beyle 34220 5771h
Robert le diable (Meyerbeer): Va, dit-elle, va mon enfant 33716 6487h
Faust (Gounod): Anges purs with Antonio Roccaand Pierre d'Assy 34208 6497½h

Gramophone, Paris 1908-11-12
Juive (Halévy): Il va venir 033068 0855v

Gramophone, Paris 1909-03-17
Damnation de Faust (Berlioz): De l'amour, l'ardante flamme 033103 0922v
Damnation de Faust (Berlioz):  Pt 2 033104 0923v

Gramophone, Paris 1909-03-24
Africaine (Meyerbeer): Adieu, mon beau rivage 033105 0930v

Gramophone, Paris 1909-06-15
Roméo et Juliette (Berlioz): Premiers transports que nul n'oublier 033106 01100v

Gramophone, Paris 1910-06-09
Hérodiade (Massenet): Salomé! Jean! with Leon Beyle 034065 01536v
Hérodiade (Massenet): Ami, la mort n'est pas cruelle with Leon Beyle 034066 01537v

Berthe César (Soprano)

She studied singing under Frédéric Boyer in France. In the 1900-1905 seasons she appeared in Ghent. In Antwerp she sang in the premieres of  the operas ‘’Messaline’’ by I. de Lara and F. Cilèa’s ‘’Adriana Lecouvreur’’. Then she made guest appearances in Bordeaux and Lyon. In 1908 she made her debut at the Paris Opéra-Comique and appeared there as Manon, Lakmé, Rosina, and Violetta. At the Opéra de Marseille she sang till 1918. As a guest, she sang frequently in many French houses and also was on the Monte Carlo roster in 1916 as C. Gounod’s Mireille.

Chronology of some appearances

1900-1905 Ghent Opera
1906? Antwerp Opera
1908 Paris Opéra-Comique


Gramophone, Paris 1911-10-31
Manon (Massenet): Toi! Vous! with Leon Campagnola 034120 Y28
Manon (Massenet): N'est-ce plus ma main with Leon Campagnola 034111 Y28

Gramophone, Paris 1911-11-03
Manon (Massenet): J'écris à mon père with Leon Campagnola 34290 U22

Gramophone, Paris 1912-09-05
Faust (Gounod): Divine pureté with Leon Campagnola and Paul Payan 034153 Y12

Gramophone, Paris 1912-09-12
Roméo et Juliette (Gounod): Console-toi, pauvre âme with Leon Campagnola 034156  Y34
Roméo et Juliette (Gounod): Où suis-je with Leon Campagnola 034155 Y34 

Paul Aumonier (Bass) (1872 - 1944)

He studied singing at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1904 he appeared at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in G. Verdi’s ‘’Rigoletto’’and ‘’Aida’’. In 1913 he sang at the Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie in the premiere of the opera ‘’Graziella’’ by J. Mazellier. In 1919 at the Paris Grand Opéra he appeared in ‘’Samson et Dalila’’ and ‘’Salammbô’’. His repertoire included Max in ‘’Le chalet’’ by A. Adam, Jacob in ‘’Joseph’’ of E. Méhul, Girto in ‘’Le Pré aux clercs’’ by F. Hérold, Marcel in G. Meyerbeer’s ‘’Huguenots’’, Frère Laurent in C. Gounod’s ‘’Roméo et Juliette’’ and Lothario in ‘’Mignon’’ by A. Thomas. 

Chronology of some appearances

1904 Opéra de Monte-Carlo
1913 Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie
1919 Paris Grand Opéra


Odeon, Paris 1904-08?
Patrie (Paladilhe): Arioso du duc d'Albe 33879
Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini): Air de la calomnie 33889
Mignon (Thomas): Berceuse 33750 XP852
Galathée (Massé): Tristes amours 33821 XP854
Guillaume Tell (Rossini): Ses jours qu'ils ont osé proscrire with. Gautier and  Weber  33859 XP910

Joachim Cerdan (Bass) (Paris 1877 - Paris 1921)

In 1907 he joined to the Grand Opéra  in  Paris and remained a member  till 1920. He appeared there in the premiere of the operas ''Monna Vanna'' (1909) by Henry Février, ''Bacchus'' of J. Massenet (1909), ''Le Miracle'' (1910) by Georges Hüe, and ''Siberia'' (1911) of U Giordano. In 1920 he made guest appearances at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, then also in Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo. His best role was counted the Abimelech in ''Samson et of Dalila'' of  C. Saint-Saëns and the Athanaël in ''Thaïs'' of J. Massenet. His repertoire at the Grand Opéra included Klingsor in ''Parsifal'', Tonio in ''Pagliacci'', Oberthal in ''Le Prophète'', Mephisto in''La damnation de Faust'' , Capulet in ''Roméo et Juliette'', Horatio in ''Hamlet''. In 1917 he performed at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo as Vitellius in ''Hérodiade''. In 1921 at the same opera house he sang the role of Mephisto in ''Faust'', Saint Bris in ''Huguenots'', Colline in ''La Bohème'' and Gurnemanz in ''Parisfal''. He also sang at the Opéra de Nice. This gifted bass passed away at the height of his artistic career.

Chronology of some appearances

1907-1920 Paris Grand Opéra
1917 Monte-Carlo Opéra
1920 Buenos Aires Teatro Colón


Edison 2-min cylinders, Paris 1908?
Ariane (Massenet): Air de Pirithoüs 17998

Gramophone, Paris 1911-11-04
Faust (Gounod): A moi les plaisirs with Leon Campagnola 034117 Y31
Faust (Gounod): Mais ce Dieu with Leon Campagnola 034116 Y31

Gramophone, Paris 1912-12-17
Galathée (Massé): Aimons, il faut aimer with Rose Heilbronner 034173 02628v
Galathée (Massé): Et maintenant de toi j'implore with Rose Heilbronner 034190 02629v

Gramophone, Paris 1919-10-31
Noël (Adam) with Calvet and Dutreix 034204 W350

Maria Alexina (Soprano)

Here real name was Maria Asmus. She made her debut in 1905 at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg as Lisa in P. Tchaikovsky’s ‘’The Queen of Spades’’. Later she appeared in Kharkov (1915) and Odessa (1916).

Chronology of some appearances

1909 Teatro dell'Opera Cvalleria Rusticana
1909 Amsterdam  Paleis Voor Volksvlijt Don Pasquale 
1909  Londra  Teatro Coronet Cavalleria Rusticana
1909 Don Pasquale Londra Drudy Lane Theatre Royal            
1909 Londra  Drudy Lane Theatre Royal  Trovatore 


G&T, Milano 1907
Mosè in Egitto (Rossini): Preghiera with Gaudio Mansueto 054185 1387c