Hector Dufranne


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(b Mons, 25 Oct 1871; d Paris, 4 May 1951). Belgian bass-baritone. He made his début in 1898 at La Monnaie in Brussels, as Valentin in Faust, having studied at the Brussels Conservatory with Désirée Demest. In 1900 he appeared as Thoas in Iphigénie en Tauride with the Opéra-Comique in Paris, where he became one of the leading and longest-serving members of the company. He sang in many premières, including those of Jules Massenet's Grisélidis (Marquis de Saluces, 1901) and Thérèse (Girondin André Thorel, 1907), and Maurice Ravel's L'heure espagnole (Don Inigo Gomez, 1911). He was also the Opéra-Comique's first Scarpia in Tosca and the Opéra's first John the Baptist in Salome (1910). Above all, he was associated with the role of Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande, which he sang at the première (1902) and later in New York (1910). In 1914 he sang the role in his single appearance at Covent Garden and in 1939, for the last time, at Vichy. He won high praise for both his singing and his acting in New York and later became a favourite at Chicago, where he sang Celio in the world première of The Love for Three Oranges (1921), conducted by the composer. At a private performance in Paris he took the part of Don Quixote in the stage première of Manuel de Falla's El retablo de maese Pedro (1923). His admirable voice, well placed and finely produced, served him well through a long career and is impressively heard in some historically important recordings, particularly those of L'heure espagnole and Pelléas et Mélisande (1928).

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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