Enzo Seri

Enzo Seri singsLes pêcheurs de perles: Je crois entendre encore

A native of Tuscany, Seri came to France at an early age: his father, a well-known antifascist, had to leave Italy and settled in southern France (I think in Nice) as a political refugee. Very young, Enzo Seri became a painter and sculptor, and also studied voice, making his debut as Pinkerton in Monte Carlo, followed by engagements in Algiers and Marseille.

However, being an outspoken antifascist like his father, he exercised prudence when the Nazis occupied the northern half of France (and controlled also the southern half), and interrupted his career until he met pianist and voice teacher Tosca Marmor, a member of the resistance movement – and enraptured by Seri's voice. She gave him singing lessons, she saved him from being deported to Germany as a forced laborer by obtaining false papers testifying that he had been a resident of Monaco for five years (tiny Monaco was kind of a safe haven for all kinds of Nazi victims and adversaries, but only people residing there for minimum five years were exempt from the Nazi's and their French vassals' grasp), she accompanied his recitals, and she saved him again when he was arrested by the (Nazi-controlled) French police on the occasion of a visit to his family in Nice. Seri reciprocated when Marmor, being Jewish, was arrested by the Nazis and eventually deported to Auschwitz (she survived) – as long as she was imprisoned in France, he stayed in touch with her on a daily basis, sent her food and money and so on, and above all, looked after her host of resistance documents and made them evaporate before the authorities found them.

After the war, they revived their close association; Seri sang all over southern France, Marseille, Toulouse (where he was a member of the troupe), Algiers (1948/49 season), Tunis, Béziers (Carmen, Werther), Nîmes, Nice, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Monte Carlo, Geneva, Brussels, Liège, at the Aix-en-Provence festival (Così fan tutte)... and for the French radio in Paris. However, he refused to make his debut at the Paris Opéra as Tamino, saying he couldn't leave Nice for the time being since he was busy working on a huge and important sculpture – sculpting and painting was still as important as singing for him, or perhaps even more important.

Reference: Tosca Marmor: Le piano rouge. Souvenirs, Paris 1990

78 rpm
La voix de son maître, Paris 1950

0LA 5738	Dicitencello vuie (Fusco)						SK 115 
0LA 5739	Tu ca nun chiagne (De Curtis)					SK 115

La voix de son maître, Paris 1951
			'O surdato 'nnammurato (Califano)			SK 116
			Na sera 'e  maggio (Pisano)					SK 116
			Torna a Surriento (De Curtis)					SK 117
			Comme facette mammetta (Gambardella)		SK 117

LP Les pêcheurs de perles (Bizet), 1951 Leila – Mattwilda Dobbs Nadir – Enzo Seri Zurga – Jean Borthayre Nourabad – Lucien Mans Orchestre Philharmonique de Paris et Choeur Philharmonique de Paris Conductor René Leibowitz Complete editions (3 LPs): Renaissance SX 205 Nixa PLP 205/1-3 Abridged editions (2 LPs): Musical Masterpiece Society/Guilde internationale du disque/Club national du disque M115-OP15 Everest S 442/2 Disques Festival/Musidisc ALB 262 CD reissue (2 CDs): Preiser Records 20010
Alceste (Gluck), 1951/52 Alceste – Ethel Semser Admète – Enzo Seri Grand Prêtre d'Apollon – Bernard Demigny Evandre – Jean Mollien Un héraut – Jean Hoffman Hercule – Jean Hoffman Apollon – Bernard Demigny La voix de l'oracle – Lucien Mans Orchestre Philharmonique de Paris et Choeur Conductor René Leibowitz Complete editions (3 LPs): Oceanic OCLP 304 Olympic 9104 Opera Society OPS 107-109 Everest 9104/3 Le Chant du Monde "Memoire" LDX 7853/5

I wish to thank Christian Torrent for the pictures (source for the portrait, the fantastic collection of Claude-Pascal Perna) and the discography.

Go Home