Maria Galvany 1878-1949

Maria Galvany était une soprano colorature à la virtuosité spectaculaire.

Elle est née à Grenade, en Espagne, en 1878. (Certaines sources affirment 1876 ou 1874.) Malheureusement, très peu de dates confirmées concernant cette chanteuse sont disponibles.Elle a étudié au Conservatoire de Madrid avec Lázaro María Puig puis Napoléon Verger et fit ses débuts à l’opéra de Carthagène en 1896 (ou 1897) dans Lucia di Lammermoor de Donizetti. Elle est rapidement devenue l’idole du public espagnol, chantant des opéras tels que Traviata, Lucia, Lakmé, Les Huguenots (en italien), Hamlet et La Sonnambula qu’elle chanta à Parme en 1903. En 1905 elle fit des tournées en Belgique, aux Pays-Bas et en France. En 1908, elle interprèta Ophélie (Le Hameau de Thomas) à Venise, et en 1909 elle se rendit à Londres dans le cadre d’une tournée de groupe, chantant La Sonnambula, Il barbiere di Siviglia et Dinorah. Tout au long de cette décennie, Galvany fut très populaire auprès du public provincial italien et espagnol. Elle fut également très admirée en Russie, en particulier à Moscou et à Saint-Pétersbourg, ainsi qu’au Brésil, au Portugal et en Argentine. Galvany n’a joué aux États-Unis qu’une seule fois, à San Francisco (1918), chantant dans le vaudeville plutôt que dans l’opéra. Après cela, les informations sont rares.

Maria Galvany

Elle dut interrompre sa carrière vers 1919. Elle mourut dans la pauvreté, complètement oubliée au moment de sa mort. Son décès ne fut même pas mentionné dans la presse de l’époque. En fait, les circonstances de sa mort restent quelque peu mystérieuses. Selon la plupart des témoignages, elle s’est installée à Rio de Janeiro, a enseigné le chant et a parfois donné des concerts. Jusqu’en 1990, on supposait qu’elle était décédée à Rio le 2 novembre 1949, dans la maison de retraite de San Luis. Il semble toutefois que cela n’ait pas été le cas. Dans le magazine anglais The Record Collector, le docteur Jacques Alain Léon du Brésil a déclaré que les informations sur la mort de cette soprano étaient fausses: «La personne qui est réellement décédée à Botafolgo, à Rio, était une autre soprano, Fanny Maria Rollas Galvani. … née le 25 mars 1859. et qui n’a jamais enregistré».

Maria Galvany

Maria Galvany est née sept ans après la célèbre Luisa Tetrazzini et quatre ans avant la tout aussi célèbre Amelita Galli-Curci. Elle n’a jamais atteint leur renommée, malgré des capacités de pyrotechnie vocale dans les aigus assez surprenantes, et même inégalées, et une voix brillante du grave au suraigu, mais visant plus à l’effet qu’au style. Plusieurs facteurs ont contribué à cette situation. Tout d’abord, elle n’a jamais joué sur les scènes lyriques américaines et seulement de rares fois en Angleterre. Ensuite elle se produisait rarement dans des maisons de premier ordre ou avec des chefs réputés. Aujourd’hui, près de 100 ans plus tard, sa renommée repose uniquement sur les enregistrements qu’elle a laissés à la postérité. Enfin, d’après les rapports de l’époque, il semble que même si elle était une actrice acceptable, elle n’avait pas cette présence spéciale que les grandes divas possèdent. En effet, à partir des quelques images que l’on peut trouver de cette chanteuse, on aperçoit une femme plutôt petite, sombre, aux traits sans originalité. Ses photographies ne laissent pas supposer un quelconque soupçon de tempérament et ses enregistrements laissent penser la même chose. Le timbre naturel de son registre supérieur a pu aussi la desservir car il ne plaisait pas au public anglais ou américain. Il reflète un placement vocal particulier qui ne se reproduit pas bien sur les enregistrements (pincé vers le palais mou plutôt que plus près du palais dur et frontal) . Galvany, cependant, était unique …et peut encore régaler les amateurs de pyrotechnie vocale, domaine dans lequel elle est restée inégalée. Il faut l’écouter.

Maria Galvany
Maria Galvani
Maria Galvani

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