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Gaby Deslys sings!

February 17, 2014

Gaby Deslys (1881-1920), the irresistible French actress, singer and dancer, was ‘discovered’ in Paris by the impresario George Edwardes, who brought her to London for a cameo role, ‘The Charm of Paris,’ in The New Aladdin, produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London on 29 September 1906. She conquered Broadway in 1911 and later that year effortlessly upstaged her co-star (although there is some disagreement on this point), the rising Al Jolson, in Vera Violetta (Winter Garden Theatre, 20 November 1911). Mlle. Deslys appeared in several films and her only known recordings, of which the present example for the HMV label (2-033039) is one of several, were made in Vienna on 17 October 1910 [see below]. Her long-time dancing partner was the American Harry Pilcer (1885-1961) and together they created ‘The Gaby Glide,’ also in Vera Violetta.

A follower, chrisz78, has kindly added the following comment: ‘The present recording (‘Tout en rose’ by Vincent Scotto, the second song is not mentioned anywhere and came as a total surprise to me!) was recorded not in Paris but in VIENNA, on 15 October 1910, as per Gramophone Co.’s original recording register. On the same day, Deslys made four further recordings, including another take of ‘Tout en rose’ on a 10-inch disc, two versions of ‘Philomène’ and one of ‘La Parisienne.’ All were issued, though apparently very briefly, so the discs are very rare.’

For further information, see James Gardiner’s biography, Gaby Deslys, A Fatal Attraction, published in 1986.

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