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Janine Micheau (1914 - 1976)


Janine Micheau studied singing at the Toulouse and Paris Conservatoires and made her operatic stage debut in 1933 at the Paris Opéra-Comique as the Newspaper Girl / Louise. Early roles included Loys in Erlanger’s Le Juif polonais, the Neighbour in Ibert’s Angélique and such other small roles as Miss Rose / Lakmé and Andreloun / Mireille. Later roles with the Opéra-Comique included Nanetta / Falstaff, Mimì / La Bohème, Micaëla / Carmen, Rosina / Il barbiere di Siviglia, Olympia / Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Susanna / Le nozze di Figaro, Zerbinetta / Ariadne auf Naxos, the title roles in Lakmé and Mireille, Leila / Les Pêcheurs de Perles and Mélisande / Pelléas et Mélisande.

During 1935 Micheau was invited to sing Lakmé in Marseilles and (at the invitation of Pierre Monteux) Mélisande in Amsterdam. She made her debut at Monte Carlo in 1936 as Olympia and participated there in the premiere that year of Raoul Gunsbourg’s opera Les Contes d’Andersen. At the Florence Maggio Musicale Micheau sang Mélisande with the Opéra-Comique company in 1937, the year in which she made her debut at the Royal Opera House, London as Micaëla, a role she was to record more than twenty years later with Sir Thomas Beecham, the artistic director of pre-war Covent Garden.

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