Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Singer of the Day: Ninon Vallin-1886-1961

A rare artist! An extremely versatile singer--she sang opera, mélodie and Lieder (in French.) Her secure technique and superb musicianship made her one of the most sought after singers of her generation. Debussy said her voice shimmered like silver. He chose her for the première of his "Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé." In addition to Debussy, Ninon Vallin collaborated with a number of important composers, including Albert Roussel, Reynaldo Hahn, Xavier Leroux, Louis Beyot, Marguerite Béclard D’Harcourt and Joaquín Nin.

Here she sings L'Heure Exquise by Reynaldo Hahn

The white moon
shines in the woods.
From each branch
springs a voice
beneath the arbor.
Oh my beloved…

Like a deep mirror
the pond reflects
the silhouette
of the black willow
where the wind weeps.
Let us dream! It is the hour…

A vast and tender
seems to descend
from a sky
made iridescent by the moon.
It is the exquisite hour!

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