— At the Festival

Published on June 9 2020

A GREAT VOICE HAS BEEN LOST: TRIBUTE TO MADY MESPLÉ

Mady Mesplé, the coloratura soprano passed away on the 30th May in her native Toulouse at the age of 89. Her light voice with its stratospherically high range, so often associated with "L'air des clochettes" in Léo Delibes’ Lakmé. Her talent and charisma led her to perform on the world’s greatest stages from the early 1960’s until her retirement in 1985.

An eclectic and excellent musician who was active on the contemporary music and recital scene, her talent can be clearly seen in her interpretations of grand operatic repertoires as well as in operettas. Later in life, she dedicated herself to teaching and to becoming a spokesperson for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, an illness that she herself developed in the mid 1990’s. She participated in early editions of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and its productions of Zémire et Azor by André Grétry, the opera Telephone by Gian Carlo Menotti in 1956, Igor Stravinsky’s The Wedding in 1962, and in the Quatuor II concert for voice, violin, viola and violoncello by the composer Betsy Jolas in 1966. Her most successful performance in Aix remains without a doubt her irresistible interpretation of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos which she performed at the Théâtre de l’Archevêché in 1966 alongside Régine Crespin and José Van Dam.