Melism, Irma Kolassi, CD, Jacques Leguerney, Louis Aubert, Claude Debussy, Jean Roger-Ducasse
A premiere mezzo soprano and teacher, she shall probably be best remembered as an interpreter of French Art Songs. The child of a distinguished musical family, she was raised in Paris from infancy and received her first lessons from her violinist uncle; returning to Athens at eight she showed skill on the piano and began study at the Athens Conservatory where at 14 she won a First Prize for performing Maurice Ravel's "Gaspard de la Nuit", one of the most daunting works in the pianistic canon. A meeting with Maestro Dimitri Mitropoulos at her home changed the course of her career as the great conductor recognized her vocal talent and sent her to Maggie Karadja for training. Irma moved to Rome for further education in 1938 but went back to Athens at the outbreak of World War II; well received at the Athens Opera she discovered a gift for teaching and took a position at the Athens Conservatory where one of her assignments was coaching a young Maria Callas for 1944 performances of Beethoven's "Fidelio". In the late 1940s Irma made a final move back to Paris where she was to remain and to build a concert career performing the works of Faure, Debussy, Milhaud, Andre Jolivet, and others, her more noted presentations including Igor Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex", the Parisian premiere of Alban Berg's "Wozzeck", and the 1954 world premieres of Jean Rivier's "Requiem" and Serge Prokofiev's "The Fiery Angel". Gradually retiring from the stage around 1970 she remained a respected and much sought after teacher into advanced age. At her death a number of her recordings were available including what is felt to be the definitive version of Ernest Chausson's "Poems of Love and the Sea".
-Louis Aubert: Poemes arabes
-Claude Debussy: Le promenoir des deux amants, 3 chansons de Bilitis
-Jean Roger-Ducasse: Noel des roses, Deux rondels, Le coeur de l'eau
-Jacques Leguerney: La nuit, Genievres Herisses