Le génie de l’interprétation
By Silvie Oussenko

Paris 2011 MJW Fédition 132 pp
ISBN 978-2-9524573-8-7
EUR 20

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Postwar France was not poor in great baritone singing. Baritones such as Ernest Blanc, Gerard Souzay, Michel Dens, René Bianco, Jean Borthayre, Robert Massard and Willy Clément were at one time ringing names. Today there’s but one successor and that’s Ludovic Tézier, a meager crop and telling. Bacquier (born in 1924 ) was possibly the one with the greatest international operatic career. Bacquier had neither Massard's brio nor Blanc's velvety richness of voice, but he compensated for this by his dramatic imagination and the kind of dark vocal gleam that reminds one of Tito Gobbi or Fischer-Dieskau. (dixit André Tubeuf)

Sylvie Oussenko a former singer herself has already books about Chopin and Schumann amongst others to her credit and now wrote a biography on the artist. It is not a biography in the classical nor the chronological sense but one which analyses his operatic portrayals and interpretations intertwined with some facts of life in 17 parts, each part containing several chapters. While the career from the sixties onwards is perhaps best known to seasoned opera fans, the most interesting chapters in this book deal with his early years.

Several annexes complete the narrative. A chronology is missing but she gives a rather complete listing of the roles and the impressive repertoire Bacquier sang.  The discography (both vinyl,CD, commercial and live) is well-researched and there are fourteen pages with black and white photos preceded by an index.

(photos courtesy Charles Mintzer)<

Click here to read more about Bacquier

Click here to read more about him in English in an interesting article by William Madison