Roland Cougé

Picture of Roland Cougé

Program Le corsaire noir à Oran, Mars 1961

Roland Cougé singsCasanova (Wal-Berg): Sans toi que deviendrait le monde
A pupil of the notorious impostor Clemente Guearti ("I recorded on behalf of both Caruso and Gigli when they couldn't"), Cougé was around for at least 20 years from the early 1950s to the early 1970s. He sang primarily operetta, not least trying to establish himself as a successor of Luis Mariano, singing "his" roles; but much less frequently, also lyrical parts in opera. Not least, he was quite active on the radio.

He was a member of the Lyon opera theater in 1953/54, but made many guest appearances elsewhere in that season: Lausanne, Milano, Venice, Genova. Switzerland was to be particularly important for his career: he was a member of the Municipal Theater in Lausanne in the late 1950s, and returned as a guest afterwards. He tried to become kind of a Swiss Mariano by appearing in Andalousie (April 1958), Le chanteur de Mexico (April 1959); but he also sang in Les cloches de Corneville (August 1961), Das Land des Lächelns (September 1961) and Il barbiere di Siviglia with a troupe touring the French-speaking part of Switzerland (Lausanne was of course one of the places where they performed). Another Mariano operetta that Cougé had in his repertory was La belle de Cadix; he sang it in Geneva twice, at the Grand-Casino in February and March 1955, and at the Théâtre du Palais in October 1962, as well as in Sion in November 1960.

In or from 1960/61, he was a member of the Gaîté-Lyrique in Paris. In France, I also find him in Morlaix in July 1956 as Sou-Chong (probably his most important role), at the Opéra de Marseille (somewhat surprisingly, he didn't sing at such important theaters typically) as Almaviva in December 1954, in Caen as Tamino (March 1966), in Limoges as Sou-Chong (March 1966) and in Frasquita in March 1969, and in October 1964, he jumped in for Michel Cadiou for one single performance as Vincent in Montreuil, north of Paris. In 1975, he sang Tybalt at the Municipal Theater in Avignon opposite Alain Vanzo's Roméo.

He must also have appeared with the Opéra de Wallonie in Liège; a Zigeunerbaron (in French of course) produced there with Cougé was broadcast on TV in 1969 as far as Switzerland.

Reference 1; reference 2; reference 3: La Gazette de Lausanne, 18 April 1958, 17, 24 and 30 April 1959, 16 and 24 August 1961, 2 September 1961; reference 4: La Sentinelle, 13 March 1958, 19 April 1958, 18 August 1961, 1 September 1961, 20 October 1962; reference 5: Journal de Genève, 16 and 26 February 1955, 12 and 19 October 1962; reference 6: La Patrie Valaisanne, 8 November 1960; reference 7: Le Peuple Valaisan, 10 November 1960; reference 8: Le Rhône, 4 November 1960; reference 9: Journal et Feuille d'Avis du Valais, 27 October 1960, 4 November 1960; reference 10:L'Avenir du Finistère, July 1956; reference 11; reference 12; reference 14; reference 15; reference 16: Le Confédéré, 25 August 1969

I want to thank Claude Ribou for the picture (top) and program.
Many thanks to Matthew Simpson for the picture (bottom).

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