Death of a French opera legend, 89

Death of a French opera legend, 89


norman lebrecht

May 31, 2020

The great French coloratura soprano Mady Mesplé died yesterday, aged 89.

She made her debut at Liège in 1953 as Delibes’s Lakmé and went on to sing the role some 150 times, featuring on a phenomenally successful British Airways advertisement in the days when airlines aspired to high class.

Originally from Toulouse, Mesplé was internationally in demand for coloratura roles, but she was drawn to contmeporary music as well and sang Boulez, Jolas and Henze with great flair and commitment.

She will probably be remembered more for the fun stuff.




  • Michaela Karadjian says:

    Grande Artiste. Adorable être humain.

  • Bruce says:

    Agreed. Wonderful artist. RIP.

  • CLarrieu says:

    Rather than stupid airlines ads, why not post a work she did like nobody else, “La Dame de Monte-Carlo”, sung here at 59, some years after her stage retirement?Poulenc’s Favorite Denise Duval never recorded it, so it’s Mady who did it (George Prêtre conducting). Incredible incarnation…

  • Greg Bottini says:

    So sorry to read this.
    Madame Mesple was one of those rare and beautiful artists who elevated those who performed with her.
    A gorgeous voice, a wide repertoire, and by all accounts a genial colleague.
    I’m going to be listening to her recordings for the next few days.
    Farewell, dear Mady….

  • Suzanne Richelson says:

    What a beauty! I especially enjoy her Lakme and Pearl Fishers


    Ah yes, back to the days of British Airways in the late 1980’s, when crossing the Atlantic on Economy Class was actually an elegant experience. A nice three-course dinner, choice of wines, the calming voice of an ex-RAF man in the cockpit……I remember this music as one would board.

  • Marcellus says:

    Mady Mesplé; “Di piacer mi balza il cor”; La gazza ladra; Gioachino Rossini