Conchita Supervia 1895-1936

Conchita Supervia, de son vrai nom Conception Supervía Pascual était une mezzo-soprano lyrique et même colorature espagnole.

Elle a étudié le chant  au Colegio de la Damas Negras de Barcelone puis au Conservatoire du Liceu. Après une progression fulgurante, elle fit ses débuts au teatro Colon de Buenos Aires le 1er octobre 1910 à l’âge de 15 ans, en interprétant un rôle secondaire dans une œuvre de l’argentin César Stiattesi, Bianca de Beaulieu, et ensuite Zulima dans Les amants de teruel de Breton et Lola dans Cavalleria rusticana de Mascagni. L’année suivante, en 1911, elle débuta avec grand succès au Théatre Costanzi de Rome dans le rôle d’Octavian pour la création italienne du Chevalier à la Rose aux côtés d’Hariclea Darclée. 

Conchita Supervia dans Carmen

La même année, elle chanta Carmen à Bari, à Bologne et au Liceu de Barcelone en 1912. La gitane fougueuse est devenue l’un de ses rôles fétiches. Engagée à l’Opéra de Chicago pour la saison 1915-1916, elle chanta Carmen, Charlotte et Mignon. Pour ses débuts à La Scala en 1926, Supervia a chanté Hänsel, assumant plus tard d’autres rôles tels que Cherubin, Concepcion (L’heure espagnole) de Ravel et Octavian sous la direction du compositeur Richard Strauss en personne.  Paris a été charmé par sa Rosine en 1930, surprise de voir à quel point le rôle était plus séduisant entre les mains d’un mezzo doué.  Entre 1916 et 1935, elle fut ovationnée dans le monde entier pour les rôles titres de  Cenerentola, Le Barbier de Seville et l’Italienne à Alger, trois opéras de Rossini  dont elle a fortement renouvelé l’interprétation en chantant en mezzo colorature des rôles qui étaient jusque-là  chantés par des sopranos légers depuis la disparition des voix de la classe de Cornélie Falcon. Elle régna à l’Opéra de Chicago où elle passa la saison 1915-1916. Elle se produisit ensuite à paris dans Werther et Carmen. Sa Carmen fut discutée, mais bien à tord semble-t-il. On la retrouva également à Londres (Covent Garden) avec Cenerentola, à Rome, Florence, Bergame (La Damnation de Faust), Monaco, Ferrare et Gênes. En 1934, dans le long-métrage Prima Donna (Chant du crépuscule) de Victor Saville elle interpréta Baba l’étoile, en chantant aussi bien une valse musette que La Bohème de Puccini.

Conchita Supervia

Supervía n’a pas laissé d’enregistrements complets d’opéras, seulement des scènes et arias, mais elle a enregistré des zarzuelas complètes et des mélodies. Dans les années 1920, ellechanta au Teatro alla Scala le rôle de Hänsel dans Hänsel et Gretel d’Engelbert Humperdinck mais, curieusement, elle n’a jamais chanté les rôles Rossiniens ou Carmen a La Scala, bien qu’elle s’y soit produite chaque saison jusqu’à 1929.

Elle était alors une artiste suffisamment célèbre dans le monde entier, pour pouvoir dicter ses conditions de casting et indiquait clairement qu’elle ne pouvait pas et ne voulait pas mélanger Rossini et Bizet. Toutefois, sa présence scénique, son timbre, son tempérament passionné et  sa gentillesse en ont fait l’une des cantatrices les plus attachantes de son époque.

En 1931 Conchita Supervía épousa l’industriel britannique Benjamin Rubinstein et s’établit à Londres. Alors qu’elle était en pleine gloire, elle dut arrêter son activité en raison d’une grossesse difficile qui va se terminer par la naissance d’un enfant mort-né. Les suites de cet accouchement furent dramatiques car compliqués d’une infection puerpérale dont elle mourut peu après,  le 30 mars 1936, à seulement 40 ans.

Conchita Supervia


Soprano grave plus que véritable mezzo-soprano mais possédant toutefois des notes basses d’une étonnante richesse, maîtresse d’une technique absolue, d’une excellente diction, Conchita Supervia possédait un timbre inimitable, sa voix unissant un vibrato très serré au grave intense des chanteuses de flamenco (elle a laissé un enregistrement essentiel des Sept Chansons de Manuel de Falla) et aux inflexions presque infantiles de son registre aigu. Excellente comédienne, elle possédait une vis comica naturelle qui lui permit de s’affirmer dans le répertoire rossinien, pour lequel elle n’avait pas les moyens vocaux exacts, mais son interprétation d’une Carmen jeune, spontanée mais tragique est sans doute demeurée jusqu’à présent inégalée.

Elle était connue non seulement pour la souplesse de sa voix, en particulier dans la partie supérieure de sa gamme, mais aussi pour sa présence dynamique sur scène. Il y avait, bien sûr, des critiques, notamment son vibrato serré et prononcé que certains trouvaient sexy et d’autres perturbants. Beaucoup de ceux qui l’ont écoutée en chair et en os ont dit que ce vibrato était plus évident sur les disques que sur scène.

Supervía a ravi de nombreux spectateurs tout au long des années 1920 jusqu’à sa mort tragique qui a grandement attristé ses milliers d’admirateurs.

Conchita Supervia
Conchita Supervia

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