Julie Dorus-Gras


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(b Valenciennes, 7 Sept 1805; d Paris, 6 Feb 1896). Belgian soprano. She studied at the Paris Conservatoire and made her début at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels, in 1825. She sang Elvire at the first Brussels performance of Daniel Auber's La muette de Portici (1829), and she also took part in the historic performance of that opera on 25 August 1830 that allegedly sparked off the Belgian revolution. In 1831 she was engaged at the Paris Opéra, and during the next 15 years created many roles there, including Alice in Robert le diable (1831), Eudoxie in La Juive (1835), Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots (1836), Teresa in Benvenuto Cellini (1838) and other roles by Auber and Fromental Halévy. In 1839 she appeared in London on the concert platform, and in 1847 she sang the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor in English at Drury Lane, with Hector Berlioz conducting. In 1849, when she sang at Covent Garden in three of her most famous roles, Elvire (La muette de Portici), Alice and Marguerite de Valois, she was still, according to Henry Chorley, ‘an excellent artist, with a combined firmness and volubility of execution which have not been exceeded, and were especially welcome in French music’. She had a high, flexible voice, and became a noted Isabelle in Robert le diable, a role that probably suited her better than Alice. She was not a particularly convincing actress, but the accuracy of her singing and the brilliance of her voice ensured her success.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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