Gilbert-Louis Duprez (6 December 1806 – 23 September 1896) was a French tenor, singing teacher and minor composer who famously pioneered the delivery of the operatic high C from the chest. He also created the role of Edgardo in the popular bel canto-era opera Lucia di Lammermoor in 1835.
A tenor is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the countertenor and baritone voice types. It is one of the highest of the male voice types. The tenor's vocal range extends up to C5. The low extreme for tenors is roughly A♭2 (two A♭s below middle C). At the highest extreme, some tenors can sing up to the second F above middle C (F5). The tenor voice type is generally divided into the leggero tenor, lyric tenor, spinto tenor, dramatic tenor, heldentenor, and tenor buffo or spieltenor.
Bel canto —with several similar constructions —is a term with several meanings that relate to Italian singing.
Lucia di Lammermoor is a dramma tragico in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. Salvadore Cammarano wrote the Italian-language libretto loosely based upon Sir Walter Scott's historical novel The Bride of Lammermoor.
Gilbert-Louis Duprez was born in Paris. He studied singing, music theory, and composition with Alexandre-Étienne Choron and made his operatic début at the Odéon in 1825 as Count Almaviva in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia . He worked in that theatre without much success until 1828, when he decided to try his luck in Italy. There, the operatic scene was more active and developed. As a result, Duprez was able to immerse himself in work, beginning principally with tenore contraltino roles such as Idreno in Semiramide and Rodrigo in Otello , both by Rossini. He appeared, too, as Gualtiero in Bellini's Il pirata . The latter role proved to be his first undisputed stage success, probably because it was free of elaborate coloratura passages, which were not considered to be his strong suit as a vocalist.
Alexandre-Étienne Choron was a French musicologist. For a short time he directed the Paris Opera. He made a distinction between sacred and secular music and was one of the originators of French interest in musicology.
Gioachino Antonio Rossini was an Italian composer who gained fame for his 39 operas, although he also wrote many songs, some chamber music and piano pieces, and some sacred music. He set new standards for both comic and serious opera before retiring from large-scale composition while still in his thirties, at the height of his popularity.
The Barber of Seville, or The Useless Precaution is an opera buffa in two acts by Gioachino Rossini with an Italian libretto by Cesare Sterbini. The libretto was based on Pierre Beaumarchais's French comedy Le Barbier de Séville (1775). The première of Rossini's opera took place on 20 February 1816 at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, with designs by Angelo Toselli.
In 1831, in Lucca, Duprez took part in the premiere Italian performance of Guglielmo Tell , singing for the first time (in an opera theatre) a high C sung not in the so-called falsettone register,as other tenors of that time were accustomed to do, but with a full voice, often described as coming "from the chest". His Italian career then proceeded on a highly successful course. It embraced, among other things, two premieres of operas by Donizetti, namely, Parisina (in the role of Ugo) at Florence in 1832, and, more significantly, Lucia di Lammermoor (in the role of Edgardo) at Naples' San Carlo in 1835.
Lucca is a city and comune in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the Serchio, in a fertile plain near the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital of the Province of Lucca. It is famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.
Falsettone is a term used in modern Italian musicology to describe a vocal technique used by male opera singers in the past, in which the fluty sounds typical of falsetto singing are amplified by using the same singing technique used in the modal voice register. The result is a bright, powerful tone, often very high-pitched, although the sound is still different from and more feminine than what is produced by the modal voice. The term falsettone is also used for the mixed vocal register that can be achieved using this technique.
Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti was an Italian composer. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Donizetti's close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi.
His Italian reputation strongly established, Duprez returned to Paris in 1837 and scored an immediate success at the Opéra with his exciting new style of vocal delivery as exemplified in William Tell. Consequently, he obtained equal billing with Adolphe Nourrit as "principal tenor" of the theatre. Nourrit responded by leaving for Italy in emulation of his competitor; but unlike Duprez, he failed to master the new singing style during studies with Donizetti and committed suicide.
The Paris Opera is the primary opera and ballet company of France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d'Opéra, and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and officially renamed the Académie Royale de Musique, but continued to be known more simply as the Opéra. Classical ballet as it is known today arose within the Paris Opera as the Paris Opera Ballet and has remained an integral and important part of the company. Currently called the Opéra National de Paris, it mainly produces operas at its modern 2700-seat theatre Opéra Bastille which opened in 1989, and ballets and some classical operas at the older 1970-seat Palais Garnier which opened in 1875. Small scale and contemporary works are also staged in the 500-seat Amphitheatre under the Opéra Bastille.
Adolphe Nourrit was a French operatic tenor, librettist, and composer. One of the most esteemed opera singers of the 1820s and 1830s, he was particularly associated with the works of Gioachino Rossini and Giacomo Meyerbeer.
Duprez maintained his leading position at the Opéra until 1849, singing the title role in the première of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini in 1838, and taking part in several further Donizetti premieres, including those of La favorite (as Fernand) and Les Martyrs (as Poliuto), both in 1840, and Dom Sébastien (in the title role), in 1843. Ironically the role of Poliuto, which Donizetti had written expressly for Nourrit in order to help him to maintain his exalted position, was to become associated in the public's mind with Duprez.
Louis-Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer. His output includes orchestral works such as the Symphonie fantastique and Harold in Italy, choral pieces including the Requiem and L'Enfance du Christ, his three operas Benvenuto Cellini, Les Troyens and Béatrice et Bénédict, and works of hybrid genres such as the "dramatic symphony" Roméo et Juliette and the "dramatic legend" La Damnation de Faust.
Benvenuto Cellini is an opera semiseria in two acts with music by Hector Berlioz and libretto by Léon de Wailly and Henri Auguste Barbier. It was the first of Berlioz's operas, premiered at the Académie Royale de Musique on 10 September 1838. The story is inspired by the memoirs of the Florentine sculptor Benvenuto Cellini, although the elements of the plot are largely fictional. The opera is technically very challenging and rarely performed. However, the overture to the opera sometimes features in symphony orchestra programs, as does the concert overture Le carnaval romain which Berlioz composed from material in the opera.
La Favorite is a grand opera in four acts by Gaetano Donizetti to a French-language libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz, based on the play Le comte de Comminges by Baculard d'Arnaud. The opera concerns the romantic struggles of the King of Castile, Alfonso XI and his mistress, the "favourite" Leonora, against the backdrop of the political wiles of receding Moorish Spain and the life of the Catholic Church. It premiered on December 2, 1840 at the Académie Royale de Musique in Paris, France.
After singing in London at the Drury Lane theatre in the years 1843-1844, Duprez began to cut back on his stage performances, with a notable exception being the lead role in Giuseppe Verdi's Jérusalem . His last public appearance was in 1851 in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Théâtre des Italiens. He then devoted himself to teaching, first at Paris's Conservatoire (where he had been appointed to a professorship as far back as 1842), and afterwards privately. His students included the celebrated French virtuoso bass Pol Plançon (1851–1914), whose voice is preserved on gramophone recordings made in 1902-1908. Duprez also devised a system of written exercises for singers and composed a few less than successful operettas.
The Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, commonly known as Drury Lane, is a West End theatre and Grade I listed building in Covent Garden, London, England. The building faces Catherine Street and backs onto Drury Lane. The building is the most recent in a line of four theatres which were built at the same location, the earliest of which dated back to 1663, making it the oldest theatre site in London still in use. According to the author Peter Thomson, for its first two centuries, Drury Lane could "reasonably have claimed to be London's leading theatre". For most of that time, it was one of a handful of patent theatres, granted monopoly rights to the production of "legitimate" drama in London.
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.
Jérusalem is a grand opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was to be an adaptation and partial translation of the composer's original 1843 Italian opera, I Lombardi alla prima crociata. It was the one opera which he regarded as the most suitable for being translated into French and, taking Eugène Scribe's advice, Verdi agreed that a French libretto was to be prepared by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz, who had written the libretto for Donizetti's most successful French opera, La favorite. The opera received its premiere performance at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris on 26 November 1847. The maiden production was designed by Paul Lormier (costumes), Charles Séchan, Jules Diéterle and Édouard Desplechin, and Charles-Antoine Cambon and Joseph Thierry.
In his 1880 book Souvenirs d'un chanteur, Duprez, a close friend of Donizetti's, related in deeply felt terms the bitter setbacks and obstructions which the Bergamo composer had suffered in the theatrical world.
Duprez died at Poissy, near Paris, in 1896. He was the father of soprano Caroline Duprez.
One can differentiate two distinct phases in Duprez's artistic life. Initially, being equipped by nature with a clear but comparatively thin voice, he appears to have stood in the French haute-contre tradition of singing. So, when he first went to Italy, he naturally assumed equivalent tenore contraltino roles in operas written by Rossini. However, he failed to make any great impression on Italian audiences with his Rossinian endeavours, perhaps because of his deeply rooted disinclination to indulge in displays of coloratura.
While in Italy, he began by modelling himself on the bel-canto tenor Rubini, whose bravura vocalism was a byword for sweetness and elegiac inflexion. Soon, however, he found a new source of inspiration in the person of Domenico Donzelli, the then greatest living "baritonal" tenor. Donzelli possessed a robust voice and a deliberately darkened timbre, coupled with firmly accented diction, immense nobility of phrasing and a vibrant, intense method of acting. The merging of Rubini and Donzelli's contrasting styles in Duprez, and the introduction of the famous high C from the chest (which soon became a standard feature of Romantic singing), gave rise to a fresh category of tenor, the tenore di forza. The dramatic tenor of the present day is a direct descendant in terms of range, tessitura and tonal thrust from this kind of mid-19th century voice first exemplified by Duprez.
Duprez was a small man and, regrettably, the chest high C was an element of his vocal mechanism which soon took a toll on his physical resources. According to Berlioz, his voice sounded "hardened" as early as 1838, at the premiere of Benvenuto Cellini, and over the next 10 years, despite some isolated successes, his singing continued to deteriorate. Finally, Duprez was driven into an early retirement from the stage and he took up teaching.
(List from German Wikipedia)
The Teatro Reale di San Carlo, as originally named by the Bourbon monarchy but today known simply as the Teatro di San Carlo, is an opera house in Naples, Italy, connected to the Royal Palace and adjacent to the Piazza del Plebiscito. It is the oldest continuously active venue for opera in the world, having opened in 1737, decades before either Milan's La Scala or Venice's La Fenice.
The tenore contraltino is a specialized form of the tenor voice found in Italian opera around the beginning of the 19th century, mainly in the Rossini repertoire, which rapidly evolved into the modern 'Romantic' tenor. It is sometimes referred to as tenor altino in English books.
Poliuto is a three-act tragedia lirica by Gaetano Donizetti from the Italian libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, which was based on Pierre Corneille's play Polyeucte written in 1641–42. It reflected the life of the early Christian martyr Saint Polyeuctus.
William Matteuzzi is an Italian operatic tenor renowned for his impressive vocal range and prominent upper register, reaching a high F in full voice, which enabled him to participate in the recent revival of the tenore contraltino repertoire. He is also admired as a fine musician and elegant vocalist.
Domenico Donzelli was an Italian tenor with a robust voice who enjoyed an important career in Paris, London and his native country during the 1808-1841 period.
Orville Harrold was an American operatic tenor and musical theatre actor. He began his career in 1906 as a performer in operettas in New York City, and was also seen during his early career in cabaret, musical theatre, and vaudeville performances. With the aid of Oscar Hammerstein I, he branched out into opera in 1910 as a leading tenor with Hammerstein's opera houses in New York City and Philadelphia. While his career from this point on primarily consisted of opera performances, he periodically returned to operetta and musical theatre throughout his career. He notably created the role of Captain Dick Warrington in the world premiere of Victor Herbert's operetta Naughty Marietta in November 1910.
Giovanni David was an Italian tenor particularly known for his roles in Rossini operas.
Les martyrs is a four-act grand opera by Gaetano Donizetti set to a French libretto by Eugène Scribe. The libretto was based on one written by Salvadore Cammarano for an original Italian version known as Poliuto, which was not performed until after the composer's death. Pierre Corneille's play Polyeucte written in 1641–42, the story of which reflected the life of the early Christian martyr Saint Polyeuctus, is the original source for both versions.
Giulio Marco Bordogni, usually called Marco Bordogni, was an Italian operatic tenor and singing teacher of great popularity and success, whose mature career was based in Paris.
Baritenor is a portmanteau (blend) of the words "baritone" and "tenor". It is used to describe both baritone and tenor voices. In Webster's Third New International Dictionary it is defined as "a baritone singing voice with virtually a tenor range". However, the term was defined in several late 19th century and early 20th century music dictionaries, such as The American History and Encyclopedia of Music, as "a low tenor voice, almost barytone" [sic].
Carlo Guasco was a celebrated Italian operatic tenor who sang in Italian and other European opera houses from 1837 to 1853. Although he sang in many world premieres, he is most remembered today for having created the leading tenor roles in Verdi's I Lombardi alla prima crociata, Ernani, and Attila.
Barry Banks is an English lyric tenor who, after a long association with The Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera, has achieved acclaim as one of finest interpreters of the Italian bel canto repertoire.
Italo Gardoni was a leading operatic tenore di grazia singer from Italy who enjoyed a major international career during the middle decades of the 19th century. Along with Giovanni Mario, Gaetano Fraschini, Enrico Tamberlik and Antonio Giuglini, he was one of the most celebrated Italian tenors of his era.
Gaetano Fraschini was an Italian tenor. He created many roles in 19th century operas, including five composed by Giuseppe Verdi. His voice was "heroic ... with a baritonal quality, ... yet Verdi and Donizetti appreciated his ability to sing softly and with subtlety." An Italian biographer has pointed out Fraschini's role in extending the longevity of Donizetti's operas, while at the same time accelerating the ascent of Verdi's repertory. He was indeed the most prominent singer who facilitated the transition from Donizetti to Verdi. Fraschini sang over one hundred roles and Verdi placed him at the top of his favorite tenors' list and described him as a "natural Manrico" for his Il trovatore. Fraschini also played a pivotal role in the success of many operas by Pacini and Mercadante.
Nicolas-Prosper Dérivis was a French operatic bass. He possessed a rich deep voice that had a great carrying power. While he could easily assail heavy dramatic roles, he was also capable of executing difficult coloratura passages and performing more lyrical parts. Along with Nicolas Levasseur, he was one of the greatest French basses of his generation.
Manuel del Pópulo Vicente Rodriguez García was a Spanish opera singer, composer, impresario, and singing teacher.