A Corsican tenor, Micheletti spent the major part of his career (from 1925 to 1946) as one of the stalwarts in Paris at the Opera-Comique, where he was justly acclaimed in a wide variety of roles, admirably represented by this careful remastering of his Odeon records. Since he has until now been best known as partner to Supervia in her Carmen recordings and as Des Grieux to Emma Luart’s Manon (already reissued by Vintage, 4/97), this solo recital is most welcome. His pleasing, plangent lyric tenor, with a quick vibrato typical of its time in his part of the operatic firmament, is used with the utmost artistry in a wide range of French repertory, most notably perhaps as Faust, Romeo, Wilhelm Meister and Werther, all four of whose solos are included here. Micheletti’s high notes were not produced easily, so it’s not surprising, indeed rather gratifying, to hear him take the high C of Faust’s cavatine as an exquisitely produced head note.
In an age when Francophone singers, particularly tenors, are at a premium, it is a pleasure to hear all these pieces sung with such a feeling for the shape and timbre of the text, nowhere more so perhaps than in the duet from Hoffmann, where he is partnered by Luart – a gently romantic rendering, both artists singing lightly off the text in a way you won’t hear in any modern set of the work. The same can be said of the ‘Chanson du Magali’ from Mireille, where he sings with another of his Comique partners, Marie-Therese Gauley (who sang the Child in the premiere of