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Germaine Lubin (Soprano)

Born: February 1, 1890 - Paris, France
Died: October 27, 1979 - Paris, France

The noted French soprano, Germaine Lubin (Léontine Angélique), studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Félia Litvinne from 1909 to 1912, and later with Lilli Lehmann (Donna Anna and Isolde) and Marie Gutheil-Schoder (Elektra). In her view Jean de Reszke had taught her very little.

In 1912 Germaine Lubin made her debut as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Paris Opéra-Comique, where Albert Carré gave her the opportunity to appear as Ariadne, Pénélope, Charlotte and Louise. In 1924 she joined the Paris, reamining on its roster until 1944. She became the most admired dramatic soprano for more than 20 years at the Grand Opéra where she sang in a varied repertory, including Juliette, Thaïs, Marguerite (Arrigo Boito and Charles Gounod), Aida and Sallambô (Reyer). She appeared as Agathe, Fidelio, Elsa, Eva, Elisabeth, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde, Isolde, Elektra and Cassandre in Berlioz’ Les Troyens. It was Lubin who sang the first French performances of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, Der Rosenkavalier and Elektra. She also created roles in new operas, such as Nicéa in d’Indy’s La Légende de Saint Christophe (1920), Empress Charlotte in Milhaud’s Maximilien (1932) and the Countess Sanseverina in Sauguet’s La Chartreuse de Parme. She also appeared at London’s Covent Garden (1937, 1939). In 1938 she became the first French singer to appear at Bayreuth, gaining considerable acclaim for her Wagnerian roles. Because of the outbreak of war she did not succeed to sing at the Met although Kirsten Flagstad recommended her to go there. She continued her career in Paris during the German occupation. Lubin’s friendship with the Wagner family and her sympathy with Germany brought her career to an abrupt end in 1944 during the German occupation of Paris. After three years in prison she reappeared in a few recitals in 1952.

Germaine Lubin was a beautiful and tall woman. Her statuesque appearance in these roles proclaimed her as a classic artist in the grand manner. Her most celebrated roles were probably Alceste and Iphigénie en Aulide (Gluck), Telaira in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux (1935), Ariane in Dukas’ Ariane et Barbe-Bleu (1937), Isolde, Kundry, Donna Anna, Leonora, Brünnhilde, Sieglinde, and the Marchallin.

After the death of her son in 1954, Germaine Lubin never sang in public again and eventually became a teacher for voice at the Paris Conservatoire.


Source: Cantabile Subito Website; Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2001)

Germaine Lubin: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works under her name

Links to other Sites

Lubin, Germaine (Cantabile-Subito)
Germaine Lubin (Mild und Leise) [German]

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