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...