Haricléa Darclée 1860-1939

Hariclea Haricli, qui prit pour nom de scène Hariclea Darclée (probablement sur la suggestion de Charles Gounod), fut une légendaire soprano d’origine roumaine.

Elle est née en 1860 à Brăila, ville de Valachie et port sur le Danube, à l’est de la Roumanie, dans une famille d’origine grecque. Elle était le troisième enfant d’un propriétaire terrien d’origine grecque Ion Haricli et de Maria Aslan. Dès l’enfance, après avoir échappé de justesse à la fièvre typhoïde, elle étudia le piano et prit des cours de chant à la pension Lobkovitz avec le professeur Marchesi, et à Bucarest avec le professeur d’origine française Madame La Kerre. En 1881, elle fit des débuts dans un récital de chant, sur la scène du théâtre de Brăila, sa ville natale. En février 1881, elle épousa le jeune lieutenant d’artillerie Iorgu Hartulary. En 1886, ils partirent pour Paris. Le couple ne s’entendait guère, Iorgu ayant la passion du jeu et des femmes. Haricléa décida d’échapper à son mariage malheureux et à sa situation financière déplorable en se dirigeant vers une carrière de chanteuse professionnelle. La naissance de son fils, Ion, ne l’empêcha pas de continuer à suivre des cours de chant avec Victor Alphonse Duvernoy au Conservatoire de Paris.

Hariclea Darclée

Le destin intervint, lorsque Pierre Gailhard, membre du conseil d’administration de L’Opéra se rendit à l’école du Conservatoire afin de trouver une soprano qui pourrait chanter à l’occasion de la 200ème représentation du Roméo et Juliette de Gounod. Pourtant, Gailhard n’était satisfait d’aucun des chanteurs qui lui furent présentés. Soudain, en entendant une voix derrière la porte de la salle de classe, il poussa Duvernoiy sur le côté: “Espèce d’homme stupide! Tu sais à quel point nous recherchons désespérément une Juliette, et pourtant tu ne m’a rien dit de cette belle voix.” Le lendemain, Haricléa Haricli auditionnait devant Charles Gounod. Le vieux maestro pleura après avoir entendu sa voix. Bien qu’elle ait peu d’expérience de la scène, elle fut engagée pour la première la plus prestigieuse de la décennie, la nouvelle production d Roméo et Juliette qui devait être montée pour commémorer l’Exposition universelle de 1899. Des chanteurs de l’Opéra, jaloux, conspirèrent contre elle et poussèrent au dernier moment la direction a engager Adelina Patti pour le rôle. Mais, la Patti tomba malade et Haricléa dut la remplacer au débotté. Elle avait finalement eu sa revanche.

Ensuite, elle compléta sa formation auprès du baryton Jean-Baptiste Faure qui fut l’un des plus célèbres barytons du XIXème siècle.

Le 14 décembre 1888 elle débuta en 1888 à l’Opéra de Paris dans le rôle de Marguerite (Faust).

Mais sa véritable consécration eut lieu à La Scala, le 26 décembre 1890, où Giuseppe Verdi l’applaudit, pour sa performance de Chimène, dans Le Cid de Massenet. Darclée avait une bonne présence sur scène et en 1898 Puccini tomba sous le charme de sa voix et très certainement de sa beauté. Parmi ses admirateurs, on peut citer le roi Carlos Ier du Portrugal (qui lui envoya des lettres d’amour), le Vizir Osman Pacha et des compositeurs tels que Gounod et Fauré. Pour Giuseppe Verdi, elle était “ma belle et courageuse Violetta”.

En 1890, elle fut encore accueillie à la Scala de Milan où elle chanta plusieurs saisons et y fit la création mondiale, le 20 janvier 1892, de La Wally d’Alfredo Catalani dans le rôle de Wally.

Haricléa Darclée
Haricléa Darclée dans Tosca à gauche et dans La Wally à droite
Haricléa Darclée dans Iris de Mascagni
Haricléa Darclée

A Rome, le 27 novembre 1898, elle assura aussi la création mondiale de Iris de Mascagni ainsi que celle du chef d’oeuvre de Puccini, Tosca, le 14 janvier 1900, qui eut lieu au Teatro Constanzi de Rome. Puccini considérait Haricléa Darclée comme la seule chanteuse qui puisse parfaitement comprendre le rôle de Floria Tosca et à sa demande, ajouta l’air devenu fameux Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore. Elle fit aussi une tournée aux Amériques, chantant à New-York, à Buenos Aires, en Uruguay, au Brésil et au Chili. Elle excella dans de nombreux rôles, notamment ceux de Valentine (Les Huguenots), Manon, Élisabeth (Tannhaüser) à Buenos Aires en 1897, 1903 et 1909 de même que les principaux rôles des compositeurs véristes et belcantistes tels que Bellini et Donizetti. Elle créa encore I Ranzau de Mascagni à Florence en 1892 et donna la première en français de La Vie Pour Le Tsar de Mikhaïl Glinka à Nice en 1890. Elle fut adulée en Italie où elle fut tenue pour l’égale de Lilli Lehmann. Ses interprétations magistrales ont été grandement influencées par le fait qu’elle connaissait plusieurs langues étrangères: allemand, français, italien, espagnol, anglais, grec, russe.

Hariclea Darclée

Entre 1891-1910, elle fit de nombreuses tournées en Roumanie. Le public roumain put l’applaudir dans des airs d’opéra mais aussi dans des lieder, des oratorios, et même des airs populaires folkloriques ainsi que dans des œuvres inconnues ou rarement chantées. Malheureusement, aucun enregistrement n’a été fait sur disque avec la voix de Hariclea Darclée, à l’exception de deux chansons roumaines: La chanson du sifflet de George Stephanescu et Dear pride we have de Tiberiu Brediceanu enregistrées avec un accompagnement au piano mais à un âge très avancé.

Sa voix s’usa prématurément à partir de 1905, quoiqu’elle eût chanté jusqu’en 1918, année où elle quitta la scène. Sa dernière représentation fut Juliette dans Roméo et Juliette au Teatro Lirico de Milan en 1918. Haricléa Darclée a chanté 58 rôles dont 12 en première mondiale. Cette artiste qui s’était retirée après une carrière de 30 ans couronnée de succès et avait touché des cachets importants, dut trouver refuge au Foyer des Artistes de Milan (qui avait été créé par Giuseppe Verdi pour les artistes nécessiteux), ruinée, dit-on, pendant la Grande Guerre. Elle rejoignit enfin sa patrie où elle vécut dans la pauvreté et mourut à Bucarest le 10 janvier 1939. Elle fut enterrée au cimetière Bellu de Bucarest grâce aux fonds fournis par l’ambassade d’Italie. Elle a eu un fils, Ion Hartulary-Darclée (1886-1969) qui fut compositeur et chef d’orchestre. En 1995, dans sa ville natale, ont été créés le Festival et le Concours International de Chant Haricléa Darclée.

Haricléa Darclée

175 thoughts on “Haricléa Darclée 1860-1939”

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