It is in the small auditorium of the Museum of Art and History of Judaism, in Paris, that the tenor Cyrille Dubois and his pianist, Tristan Raës, distilled, Thursday, June 2, a dazzling recital of French melodies around Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947) and Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), of which they have just published a masterful integral for the Aparté label in co-production with the Palazzetto Bru Zane. The two musicians, who met in the mid-2000s at the Paris Conservatory, form the Duo Contraste. A rather badly chosen surname (unless it is antiphrastic), as the accomplices seem, on the contrary, subtly paired.
Since his Victoire de la musique in 2015 in the category “lyrical revelation”, the tenor, born on September 27, 1984, in Ouistreham, passed by the Atelier lyrique of the Paris Opera, has literally exploded. The voice is clear and supple, calm in the bass, controlled in the treble, with an infinite color chart in the conduct of the line, between modesty and emotion. A song of absolute fidelity to the text, a model of style and diction.
After a certain nervousness in the voice in the first melodies extracted from the Verlainian Chansons grises, by Reynaldo Hahn (Tous deux), the singer will deploy a work of goldsmith, giving each piece its content of salonnard romanticism, elegy, poetry. He approaches the first of the Rondels at the top of his voice, an exalted Printemps calling on the symphonic piano with the almost Wagnerian sounds that accompany Les Etoiles. Between the two Théodore de Banville, the witty and falsely archaic When I was taken to the pavilion, by Charles d’Orléans.
Gabriel Fauré imposes himself with his opus 85, three melodies from the late period. After Reynaldo Hahn’s romance, the metaphysics of nature: Dans la forêt de Septembre and La Fleur qui va sur l’eau (Catulle Mendès), inspired, vehement music, magnified by a piano part powerfully evocative of the elements, the symbolism of Albert Samain finding in Accompaniment ideally dark accents.
Return to Reynaldo Hahn with five independent melodies. If L’Enamourée transforms Cyrille Dubois into a luxury crooner, the baroque paraphrase of A Chloris is written in the style of Bach, played with just the right amount of reverence by the piano of Tristan Raës. The tragedy To Our Unknown Dead resonates with particularly poignant emotion. The disenchanted resignation of D’une prison, by Verlaine, then the fervent memory of the lost love of La Déssée complete this penultimate part in a melancholic atmosphere.
The musicians saved Verlaine and the Fauré cycle of La Bonne Chanson for the end. Nine melodies in the form of a masterpiece, the third of which, The white moon shines in the woods, responds to Hahn’s L’Heure exquise. The quasi-tonality of I was going through perfidious paths, then the passionate I’m almost afraid, in truth reach new heights, while the piano makes quails chirp in the thyme and larks in the sky in Before you go away . The almost wild dance of Winter Has Ceased concludes this fiery hymn to marital bliss.
Four more famous encores will follow, chosen from among the 108 melodies of the Fauré corpus (3h52 of recorded music, specifies Cyrille Dubois) – Chanson d’amour, Les Berceaux, La Fée aux chansons and Après un rêve – completing the enthusiasm of the public. . In a few days, Cyrille Dubois will return to the path of French opera: Roméo et Juliette, by Berlioz, in Strasbourg and Paris, before the rare Phryné, by Saint-Saëns, also in concert version, at the Opéra-Comique .