Lucy Arbell (née Georgette Gall, Georgette Wallace) (8 June 1878 – 21 May 1947), was a French mezzo-soprano whose operatic career was mainly centred in Paris and who was particularly associated with the composer Jules Massenet.
|Died||21 May 1947 (aged 68)|
Life and careerEdit
The father of Georgette was Edmond Richard Wallace (1840–1887), son of Sir Richard Wallace.
She had a close relationship with the late operas of Massenet, creating roles in Ariane (Perséphone), Thérèse (title role), Bacchus (Queen Amahelli), Don Quichotte (Dulcinée) in Monte-Carlo and Paris, Roma (Postumia), and Panurge (Colombe). She may have been a talented actor, but her voice was considered by some critics to be mediocre; the roles created for her included extensive passages of declamation, something not usually seen in the operas of the period. The critic Rodney Milnes describes Arbell as "gold-digging": her blatant exploitation of the composer's honourable affections caused his wife considerable distress and even strained Massenet's devotion (or infatuation as Milnes characterises it). After the composer's death in 1912, Arbell pursued his widow and publishers through the law courts, seeking to secure herself a monopoly of the leading roles in several of his late operas.
At the Opéra-Comique she sang Charlotte (Werther) up to the 1920s, but fell into oblivion after Massenet's death. As a singer she is described as having a strong, vibrant 'mezzo-contralto' and a vivacious personality.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lucy Arbell.|
- Paul Nadar on Getty Museum
- Forbes E. Lucy Arbell. In: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Macmillan, London and New York, 1997.
- Gourret J. Dictionnaire des Cantatrices de l'Opéra. Editions Albatros, Paris, 1987.
- Branger, Jean-Christophe (2019). "'There Must Be Something There That We Don't Know About': Massenet and Lucy Arbell". Cambridge Opera Journal. 30 (2–3): 186–218. doi:10.1017/S0954586719000065. S2CID 203423662.
- Milnes, Rodney. "Massenet, Jules" The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press, retrieved 28 July 2014 (subscription required)
- Wolff S. Un demi-siècle d'Opéra-Comique (1900–1950). André Bonne, Paris, 1953.