Death of a brilliant harpsichordist and voice coach

The harpschordist Janine Reiss, director of musical studies at the Paris Opéra from 1973 to 1980, has died in her 99th year.

The singers she coached in major roles included Maria Callas, Teresa Berganza, Mady Mesplé, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. She was music advisor on Joseph Losey’s Don Giovanni film.

Here’s a full interview in English with Bruce Duffie.

She said: ‘I never prepare a singer for a conductor.  I always prepare a singer for the composer.’

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  • I am saddened to read this. Janine was a monumental figure in the world of opera, and a truly great character, of the old school. They don’t make them like Janine anymore. Fair well to an irreplaceable.

  • I had no idea she was still with us. Along with the great Norman Feasey and a very young Roger Vignoles, she coached me at the ROH in 1969 when I played Yniold in Monsieur Boulez’s first ‘Pelleas et Melisande’. As I recall, she and M Boulez were good friends and she was an extraordinary musician and fabulous person. Captivatingly glamorous to a fourteen year old boy! RIP

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