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Mado Robin (1918 - 1960)

Mado (full name Madeleine Marie) Robin grew up with her two sisters in the family home, the Chateau les Vallées at Tournon-Saint-Pierre. It soon became evident that she had an exceptional voice and at the age of sixteen she was heard by the Italian baritone Titta Ruffo, who recognized her extraordinary range. Although married at the age of seventeen to an Englishman, Alan Smith, by whom she had a child, Robin entered the Paris Conservatoire, where she studied with Mme Fourestier and the French tenor of Italian origin Mario Podestà, from whom she gained an excellent command of bel canto.

After only two years of study, in 1937 Robin won first prize in the ‘Concours des soprani’ organized by the Paris Opera; but the outbreak of World War II in 1939 and the subsequent invasion of France by Germany made the initial development of her career extremely difficult. Nonetheless she gradually established a name for herself through her participation in charity concerts and made her first solo concert appearance in 1942. This was a recital of songs and arias at the Salle Gaveau in Paris, arranged with the help of Podestà and the Pathé record company. Subsequently she sang in ‘variétés’ (the French version of variety, which often included a much wider range of artist than was usual in the United Kingdom).




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