Rene Maison (Tenor) (Frameries, Belgium 1895 - Mont-d'Or, France 1962)
Born in Frameries, Belgium, he studied in Brussels and Paris. He made his debut in Geneva in 1920, as Rodolfo in La boheme. He also appeared in Nice and Monte Carlo, before making his debut in 1927, at the Opera-Comique in Paris, as Prince Dimitri in Franco Alfano's Risurrezione, opposite the soprano Mary Garden. His other roles there included Don Jose, Mylio, Werther, Canio, Cavaradossi, and Jean Gaussin in Massenet's Sapho.
He made his Paris Opera debut at the Palais Garnier in 1929, in Henry Fevrier's Monna Vanna. He sang there regularly until 1940, as Faust, Lohengrin, Radames, Siegmund and Samson. In 1934, he created there the role of Eumolphe in Stravinsky's Persephone.
Maison also enjoyed a successful international career, appearing at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (1928-40), the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires (1934-37), the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London (1931-36), and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His Met debut occurred on February 3, 1936, as Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. In eight seasons with the Met he sang Don Jose, Lohengrin, Samson, Julien, Florestan, Hoffmann, des Grieux and Herodes, among other roles.
In 1943, he began teaching at the Juilliard School in New York, and from 1957 until his death, at the Chalof School in Boston. Among his pupils was the baritone turned dramatic tenor Ramon Vinay.
Maison died in Mont-d'Or, France, aged 66. He was, in terms of birth dates, the middle member of a triumverate of outstanding Belgian operatic tenors who reached their peak in the period between the two world wars. The others were the lyric-dramatic tenor Fernand Ansseau (1890-1972) and the lyric tenor Andre D'Arkor (1901-1971).
Maison possessed a powerful and penetrating voice, capable of surprising nuance, and an impressive stage presence (he stood 6 feet 4 inches tall). Posterity is fortunate that he made some commercial, 78-rpm discs of French operatic arias which demonstrate his considerable merits as a singer.
Chronology of some appearances
1928 Chicago Civic Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1929 Chicago Civic Opera House Lohengrin (Lohengrin)
1930 Chicago Civic Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1932 Chicago Civic Opera House Carmen (Don Jose)
1934 Buenos Aires Teatro Colon Manon Lescaut (De Grieux)
1935 Buenos Aires Teatro Colon Carmen (Don Jose)
RECORDINGS FOR SALE
Lohengrin: Ma confiance en toi Odeon 188.547 Ki1410-1
Favorite: Un ange, un femme inconnue Odeon 123.564 xxP6701-1
Sigurd: Prince du Rhin Odeon 188.602 Ki1793-1
Dannazione di Faust: Nature immense Odeon 123.502 xxP6523-1
Lohengrin: Recit du Gral Odeon 123.502 xxP6506-2
Faust: Me voici, d'ou vient ta surprise?... O merveille with Julien Lafont Odeon 123.510, 123.510, xxP6528, xxP6529
Risurrezione: Katiuska, ce jour exquis Odeon 188.532 Ki1228
Risurrezione: Pleure, oui pleure Odeon 188.532 Ki1230
Herodiade: Ne pouvent reprimer les elans HMV DB4938 2PG1579-1