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BERTHE MONMART

Berthe Monmart was born in Belgium in 1921. After completing her formal education, in 1942 she entered the Paris Conservatoire, where she won the first prize for singing in 1946, and for opera and for opéra-comique in 1948. She made her stage début as Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) at Reims in 1949. After singing Elsa (Lohengrin) in Algeria she made her début at the Paris Opéra as Gerhilde (Die Walküre) in 1951, quickly followed by Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Opéra-Comique. Here she sang other major rôles, including the title rôles in Louise, Madama Butterfly and Tosca, and Charlotte (Werther). At the Opéra she tackled heavier parts, with a leaning to Wagner: Elsa, Elizabeth (Tannhauser), Senta (Der fliegende Holländer) and Fricka (Die Walküre), as well as Marguerite (Faust) and La Damnation de Faust, Leonora (Fidelio), and Mme Lidoine (Les Dialogues des carmélites).

She took part in a number of French premières, including Schoenberg’s Erwartung, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia and von Einem’s Der Besuch der alten Dame. She also sang throughout the French provinces and in Belgium. She made frequent broadcasts for French Radio and recorded extensively. Notable recordings include a complete account of Louise, conducted by Jean Fournet, released on the Philips label, and a live performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony, Resurrection, conducted by Leonard Bernstein. She made her final stage appearance in 1980 at Marseilles as Mère Marie (Les Dialogues des carmélites). She then taught at the Conservatoire in the city of Toulouse, where she died in 1997.

Role: Classical Artist 
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