In this session, Professor François Le Roux helps his student Tomoyo Harada perfect her performance of the song L’inconstante by Isabelle Aboulker, based on a poem by Charles Cros.
Harada's main challenge is French diction, thus she must apply extra attention to each sentence and accent so that the audience can follow the text without issue. According to Professor Le Roux, the tempo is a bit rubato, a bit like a polka dance. Additionally, the pair discuss the varying colors of the piece, and the importance of concluding the song with a mocking tone.
Articulation and diction.
Following the tempo.
Evoke all the colors in this song.
Applying the right tone throughout the work.
L’Inconstante is a melody for soprano and piano written by French composer Isabelle Aboulker and based on a poem by Charles Cros. It is a dance-like fable about a young woman named Sidonie and her many lovers, and is sung with many accents and contrasting colors.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this chant masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Francois Le Roux’s feedback and comments.
He has been awarded the grade of "Chevalier" in the French National Order of Les Arts et Lettres in 1996.
François Le Roux began studying vocals with François Loup, now a teacher at Peabody-Baltimore, at the age of nineteen. Later, he continued to study under Vera Rosza and Elisabeth Grümmer at the Opéra Studio, Paris.
A member of the Lyon Opera Company from 1980 to 1985, he has since been a guest at all the major European opera houses and festivals, as well as renowned American opera venues: Santa Fé (NM), Los Angeles Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Colon Buenos Aires (Argentina). His operatic repertoire is immense, from Monteverdi to David Lang. Named “Mr. Mélodie” by American critics, François Le Roux gives numerous recitals accompanied by such renowned names as Graham Johnson, Roger Vignoles, Christian Ivaldi, Olivier Godin, and Jeff Cohen. He conducts masterclasses dedicated to the interpretation of French songs and recital repertoire around the world: Orford and Lachine Academy (Québec, Canada), Vancouver (BC, Canada), Minneapolis Song Source Festival (USA), Sibelius Academy Helsinki (Finland), Kyoto Société Mélodie Française (Japan), Central Conservatory of Music Beijing (China), Association Mélodie Française (Seoul, South Korea), and the Académie Ravel de Saint-Jean-de-Luz (France).
Moreover, he is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Académie Francis Poulenc Tours, where every year since 1997, students have the opportunity to learn the interpretation of French Song. What’s more, Le Roux organized the “French Song Concert Seasons” of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris between 1997 and 2002.
He has been awarded the grade of “Chevalier” in the French National Order of “Les Arts et Lettres” in 1996, and was selected as "Musical Personality of the Year, 1997" by the French Critics Union. He has been a vocal teacher at the National Music Conservatoire in Paris (CNSMDP), and is now teaching at the Ecole normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot, where he is developing the exclusive French Vocal Art Certificate.
Isabelle Aboulker is a French composer who was born near Paris in 1938. Born in a musical and artistic family, she was encouraged to develop her musical talent early on and received training in composition and keyboard from the Conservatoire de Paris. She later joined them as an accompanist and voice teacher, while composing for film and theatre productions. She adapted many literary works by famous French writers and poets such as Jean de La Fontaine, Charles Cros, and dramaturgist Eugene Ionesco. She won several prestigious awards in France and wrote educational pieces that are widely used by voice students and teachers. She is still a working artist and is part of ongoing musical ventures.
Photo credit: Isabelle ABOULKER