February 20th, 1906 Lyon – April 23rd, 1999.
If "Faust" was not the very first performance I ever attended at the Paris Opéra, it nevertheless served as a
pretext over several years for frequenting the halls of the Palais Garnier. Villabella, Thill, Vergnès and occasionally Jobin
and Rouquetty had given place to Jouatte (my first Faust) and to Noré and then to a French tenor of Italian descent called
Raphaël Romagnoni, who in the course of a long career would become one of those "indispensable" and "always available" singers who
are regarded as "pillars" of our Parisian opera houses.
In RA format
Raphaël Romagnoni was born on February 20th 1906 at Lyons, where after fruitful studies at the Conservatoire he made his debut at
the Grand Théâtre in 1931 in "Cavalleria rusticana". The success accorded to his beautiful voice with its generous top
notes lead to many engagements in the provinces and North Africa until World War II.
In 1947 he was engaged by the "Réunion des Théâtres Lyriques Nationaux". In his first year at the Opéra, he
sang Roméo, the Duke of Mantua, Mylio and Faust, a role that he took over several years with great success. There followed the
creations at the Palais Garnier of "Jeanne au bûcher", in which he sang the role of Bishop Cauchon in all 93 performances with
Claude Nollier and six times with Ingrid Bergman (Jeanne) and successively with Jean Vilar, Henry Doublier and Robert Vidalin
(Frère Dominique), and of "Oberon", in which he sang Oberon from the premiere to the 67th and last performances. Later would come
"Les contes d'Hoffmann", in which he sang Hoffmann and at the end of his career Spalanzani.
Making his debut at the Salle Favart in 1947, he would sing Don José, des Grieux, Werther, Gérald, Hoffmann, Nadir,
Pinkerton, Turiddu and the Rodolphes in "La bohème" and "La traviata". Parallel with his Parisian activities, he took part
throughout his career in tours of the big provincial towns and also abroad; Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Greece, Brazil and Portugal.
Not least, his frequent participation in radio broadcasts contributed to his popularity. He retired in 1971 and died on 23 April 1999.
Jean Ziegler in a Malibran CD booklet
In RA format
I wish to thank Georges Cardol for the recordings.