Obituary: French Vocal Coach and Harpsichordist Janine Reiss Dies at 99

By Logan Martell
(Image Source: Bruce Duffie)

French vocal coach and harpsichordist Janine Reiss passed away on June 2, 2020, at the age of 99.

A prominent figure in the 60’s, Reiss specialized in readying singers for the French repertoire, with notable performers including Maria Callas, Teresa Berganza, Mady Mesple, Julia Migenes, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti.

From 1973 to 1980, Reiss was director of musical studies at the Paris Opera, and during this time she worked with conductors and opera houses worldwide. In 1978, she helped with production of Joseph Losey’s filmed version of “Don Giovanni,” serving as musical advisor as well as playing the recitatives in the film.

Reiss is credited with a number of recordings over the decades, serving as language coach, music director, and vocal coach for recordings such as “Les Contes d’Hoffman” with Jessye Norman, “Werther” with Jose Carreras, “Romeo et Juliette” with Angela Gheorghiu, and Andrea Bocelli’s 2010 album “Carmen: Duets & Arias.”