Huguette Tourangeau’s voice was a unique instrument, instantly recognisable. It was a true contralto stretching from an E below middle C to an A flat or even an A natural two and a half octaves above.

Her voice was very large with a rich and brilliant sound especially in the lower register. She was able to lighten the top and had great coloratura facility. Above the A natural she had an extraordinary high falsetto (presumably like Emma Calvé) which she occasionally used for cadenzas.

Joan loved singing with Huguette – their voices blended and they made magic together. Huguette’s Elizabeth  to Joan’s Maria Stuarda  heated up the stage and her Adalgisa  to Joan’s Norma  was entirely believable and very beautiful.

Her performances as Giulio Cesare  to Joan’s Cleopatra  were incredibly exciting as was her Bertarido  in Rodelinda. Although very beautiful of face and figure the vocal quality she brought to these male Handel roles was unforgettable. Her Carmen  was extremely stylish as were her other French roles in Lakmé and Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Her Cherubino, the first role she sang with me, and her Zerlina  were very charming.

For me her greatest roles were in Maria Stuarda, Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda. And I will never forget her great comic turn as Prince...

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now