France mourns coloratura soprano, 100

France mourns coloratura soprano, 100


norman lebrecht

March 10, 2021

The fabulous Renée Doria has gone to her rest.

She turned 100 last month and had been planning a party, but the death of her close friend Andréa Guiot and all the Covid restrictions made that event untenable.

Doria made her debut aged 18 in 1942 at Marseille, as Rosina, in The Barber of Seville.

She rose swiftly to Lakmé at the Opéra-Comique, followed by the Paris Opera. She sang mostly in France and retired in her 80s.



  • Greg Bottini says:

    Renee Doria was simply fabulous.
    What a beautiful, clear voice she had, what great intonation and phrasing.
    She was one of the last, if not THE last, of that special truly French singing style – equally at ease in opera or operetta.
    Rest in peace, cher Madame….

  • Stuart says:

    If she was born in 1921, the math doesn’t work with this statement: Doria made her debut aged 18 in 1942 at Marseille, as Rosina, in The Barber of Seville.

    Hew Naxos bio states it correctly: She was educated in Marseilles, where she gave her first professional concert at the age of eighteen. She made her stage début, also at Marseilles, in 1942 as Rosina in The Barber of Seville.

    • Vanessa COX says:

      The ‘math’ isn’t really the point here is it?!

      What a wonderful talent she was. A fabulous recording. I love it!! xx

      • Stuart says:

        No, it wasn’t the point. Just pointing it out. I guess getting the facts right only matters some of the time…

  • AndrewB says:

    There will be much sadness at the passing of Renee Doria and Andrea Guiot as they were both greatly involved in coaching and assisting young singers once their own singing days were done. I have worked with pupils of both in the past.
    They were part of a very special generation of singers along with Suzanne Sarroca, Rita Gorr, Lynne Dourian, Georges Liccioni, Albert Lance , Ernest Blanc, Jacques Mars, Pierre Thau and others who brought a total dedication to the opera.
    The longevity of their careers reflects the careful years of role preparation, the time sometimes spent on contract to the old ‘ troupe’ system where young singers were mainly attached to one particular theatre singing specific roles and gradually extending their capabilities. Sadly the ‘troupes’ are long gone and young singers must accept all and any work where they can , irrespective of whether it is suitable, or risk not being asked again.
    Occasionally an opera house will announce the starting of a new ‘troupe,’ sometimes as a way of lightening the salary load if the season is heavy with roles. However these experiments rarely last beyond a season or two . From a vocal development perspective there was much to be said for the old system .
    It will be interesting to see how the operatic world picks up the pieces after the pandemic. Surely imaginative strategies will be needed to get things running again.

    • Anna-Maria says:

      Ganz genau auf dem Punkt gebracht. Heutzutage werden junge SängerInnen leider sehr schnell verheizt und ausgewechselt. Der ganze Musikindustrie geht es leider vor allem um das liebe Geld. Äusserst schade…

    • CLarrieu says:

      Last survivor from this generation is the great baritone Robert Massard, 95…

  • Andrew Godbold says:

    She was and always will be Thais for me. Always beautiful.

  • bruno michel says:

    If you can get your hands on her Thaïs recording, you will not regret it. Quite splendid. Recorded when she was 40, she is the definitive Thaïs if you are looking for a French singer.
    She had unconventional views on her repertoire, though, which she shared in an interview:

  • Anna-Maria says:

    Renée Doria war eine fantastische Sängerin! Absolut Spitze. Eine fabelhafte Vokaltechnik. Sie wird für immer in Erinnerung bleiben.

  • J Manley says:

    I first knew Renee Doria’s work from her definitive Thais in the studio recording with the great Robert Massard. IMO she was perfection. That recording still always sends me into another world.

    Her earlier work as I later came to know it is even more dazzling. A fabulous coloratura seemingly unlimited in her upper range, she had a dark rich core tone and timbre throughout her range, real vocal substance and character. Her phrasing and musicianship were inspiring.

    It is not surprising a person of her strength lived to 100. May she rest in peace, revered by us all.