Alain Vanzo

Vanzo was born in Monaco from Italian descent. Without learning music, Vanzo sang first in church services in Monaco, then learned by himself to play the piano, the accordion, and the drums. Vanzo made his debut in a pop orchestra, and sometimes sang with the orchestra. At Aix-les-Bains, Madame Audouard heard him and gave him his first music theory lessons. Madame Darcœur, after hearing him in a beer hall, provided further training and guided him towards an operatic career. His first tryout was at the Châtelet, where Vanzo was the cover of Luis Mariano in Mexico. In 1954, Vanzo participated in the vocal competition in Cannes. Vanzo was awarded the first price as demi-charactère tenor. Vanzo was then hired by the Opéra and Opéra-Comique where he was used as a utility. Vanzo created Viriato in Numance by Barreau, and this proved to be the real starting point of his career. During his Paris engagement, Vanzo went to sing in Geneva and Sofia (Rigoletto, with Popova). In Paris, Vanzo sang in Isoline, Madama Butterfly, Lakmé, Lucia di Lammermoor (with Sutherland), Don Giovanni (with Stich-Randall), Un ballo in maschera, La bohème, Les pêcheurs de perles, La traviata, Rigoletto, Le roi d'Ys etc. Vanzo sang in London, New York (Lucrezia Borgia with Caballé), Lisbon (Faust with Cangalovic). When I first heard him in Lucia, his voice projected very well, only when the Arturo of Chauvet was with him on stage, you could hear the limitation of his voice. His Maledetto was very incisive and dramatic. Compared to him, Pavarotti was nondescript in the same role, when I heard him in San Francisco. At the Paris Opéra, the voice of Vanzo carried while Pavarotti's did not. Of course now thanks to publicity, most people believe that Pavarotti is a great tenor. Vanzo was an outstanding lyric tenor, especially suited for Manon, Lakmé, ... Unfortunately, Vanzo decided towards the end of his career to sing unsuitable roles, for example Werther, Andrea Chénier and Roméo. Furthermore, Vanzo sang Don Carlo at the Opéra where he was badly received. Vanzo also sang Robert le diable, a role totally unsuited for him. Vanzo recorded Raoul during a concert performance of Les huguenots, another role completely unsuited for his voice. However, Vanzo sang until his sixties, and we must forgive him that he sang those other roles. I can only wonder how long tenors like Alagna will last, as they are singing completely inappropriate roles very early. Alagna, too, seems to last forever since he's simply not embarassed about presenting himself as a complete vocal wreck.
Alain Vanzo singsRoméo et Juliette: Ah lêve-toi, soleil
In RA format

Alain Vanzo singsDon Giovanni: Dalla sua pace
In RA format

Alain Vanzo singsLucia di Lammermoor: Fra poco a me ricovero
In RA format

Alain Vanzo singsLe roi d'Ys: Vainement, ma bien-aimée
In RA format
I wish to thank Claude Ribou for the recording (Roméo et Juliette, Église de Charleroi 1996).
I wish to thank Terence Doleschal for the recording (Le roi d'Ys).

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