Germaine le Senne


Le Senne, Germaine *? (?), ? (?) French Mezzo-soprano.(by Christophe Delhoume): Germaine Le Senne made her Paris Opera debut on February 1909 as La Haine (The Hate) in Gluck's Opera ARMIDE with Agnes Borgo as Armide and Lucien Muratore has Renaud. She succeeded in this part to Rose Féart, one of the leading opera singer of the Parisian stage. Since her debut in the “big house”, Germaine Le Senne enjoyed a career in both soprano and mezzo soprano parts. On the season of her debuts, as well as on the 1909/1910 season, she was cast in both repertoire, singing either Fricka or Brünhilde, Herodias or Valentine. Her first Wagner assignment took place on a WALKÜRE performance  September 27, 1910, where she appeared as Siegrune in a cast including Mrs Hatto, Grandjean, and Charbonnel, and with van Dyck as Siegmund un Whitehill as Wotan. For the New Eve of  1909, she sang her first Brünhilde in WALKÜRE opposite Jeanne Hatto as Sieglinde, van Dyck  and Delmas. She repeated her Brünhilde all along the season, undertaking in the meantime Fricka for RHEINGOLD in January, as well as Herodias for the local premiere of SALOME on May 6, with a first class cast including Mary Garden as the Princess, Dufranne as Jochanaan, Muratore as Herodes, and Messager at the pit . Beside the high level of the performance, the scandalous piece failed very shortly. For the 1910/1911 season, Le Senne was cast as Brangäne, for a special revival of TRISTAN arranged for the come back of Lilian Nordica. Nordica was at the end of a very long career by the Autumn 1910, and did not want to miss the opportunity to sing at the Opéra again. That is why she accepted to re-learn the part of Isolde in French, especially on this occasion. Germaine Le Senne shared the success of this revival not only with the American prima donna but also with Ernst van Dyck, Danges and Messager during the next three performances. In 1912, the Opera Management gave her the chance to appear as Aïda, Brünhilde (this time in the SIGURD Opera by Ernest Reyer) and Chimène in LE CID, before they gave her  the part of Ortrud, which remained with Brünhilde one of her most achieved interpretation at the Paris Opera. Le Senne sang the part for the very first time on January 20, 1912, opposite Yvonne Gall and Charles Fontaine, and repeated it on January 28, as well as in March. In April, she participated to a most expected event: the local premiere of Massenet's Opera: ROMA in which she sang La Grande Vestale. Kousnietzoff and Arbell, both favourites of Massenet where in a cast completed by Delmas and Muratore, and conducted by Pierre Vidal. In June 1912, Le Senne was Brangäne again for a revival of TRISTAN scheduled this time for Madame Demougeot. She sang with Verdier and both Danges and Dufranne as Telramund.  During the Summer 1912, she was Fricka in some RHEINGOLD performances conducted by both Weingartner and André Messager, and singing a last Ortrud on July 29 with Henri Büsser conducting,  for the closing of the season. In 1913, she was on the roster again as Brünhilde for more WALKÜRE performances with the tenor Franz (February and March), as Valentine in LES HUGUENOTS with Altchewsky in July and for Ortrud in the last LOHENGRIN performances of the season, in August 1913. No doubt that the ascension of her career at the opera had been stopped by Bréval, still every active at this time, and by Marcelle Demougeot, who was just about to become the principal Wagner singer, as well as a most regarded Valentine and Aïda. Le Senne's career had also been slackened with the WW-I which closed for a long time most of the Paris Theatres. On February 16 1915, Germaine Le Senne participated to the first concert given by the artists of the Opera after the declaration of the War, appearing on this occasion in The Trocadero Theatre, where she sang the duet from LE CID with Affre. She appeared at the Trocadero, as any member of the company, during the Opera closing for safety reasons,  singing the part of La Charité in L'OFFRANDE A LA LIBERTE by Gossec with Ketty Lapeyrette and Noté (March 1915) as well as for another patriotic piece: PATRIE by Paladhile, in the fall of 1916. Apparently, Germaine Le Senne's career lasted until the end of the thirties, being also very much in demand on the concert stage. In December 1927, she sang Isolde's Liebestod with Philippe Gaubert conducting, in a whole Wagner programme at the Paris Conservatoire.

(Many thanks to Christophe Delhoume!)



as Brünnhilde Paris 1909
as Brünnhilde
as Fricka
as Fricka (close-up)
as Gran Vestale "Roma" Paris 1912