(b Pepinster, 18 June 1848; d Paris, 29 Jan 1929). Belgian baritone and singing teacher. He studied at the Conservatoire Royal in Liège and in Paris, where he made his début at the Opéra in 1871 as Méphistophélès in Faust. At the Opéra-Comique, where he was first heard as W. A. Mozart's Figaro (1872), he created the title role of Jules Massenet's Don César de Bazan. The same year, he sang Hoël in Le pardon de Ploërmel (1874) and Escamillo at the première of Carmen (3 March 1875). At the Théâtre-Lyrique he took part in Victor Massé's Paul et Virginie (1876) and Gaston Salvayre's Le bravo (1877), both first performances. Returning to the Opéra (1878–9), he sang Alphonse (La favorite), Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet and Don Giovanni. In 1880 at St Petersburg he sang Méphistophélès in Charles Gounod's Faust and the title role in Arrigo Boito's Mefistofele, and in 1882 he appeared at Covent Garden in Faust and Carmen. After some years in the USA, where he founded and directed the National Conservatory of Music in New York, he returned to Paris to sing the High Priest in the first staged performance there of Camille Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila (Eden-Théâtre, 1890). From 1904 to 1907 he was again in the USA, and later he taught singing in Paris. His voice was praised by Massenet early in the singer's career, and his rendering of the Toreador's Song always evoked the warmest applause, even at the first, unsuccessful, performance of Carmen.
From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.