Jean-Baptiste Faure

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(b Moulins, 15 Jan 1830; d Paris, 9 Nov 1914). French baritone. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire, making his début in 1852 as Pygmalion (Victor Massé's Galathée) at the Opéra-Comique, where he also created Hoël in Giacomo Meyerbeer's Le pardon de Ploërmel (1859) and sang at the 1853 première of Ambroise Thomas’ La Tonelli. He made his London début at Covent Garden in 1860 as Hoël, and during the next decade sang Alphonse (La favorite), Fernando (La gazza ladra), Nevers (Les Huguenots), Don Giovanni, William Tell, Méphistophélès in the first Covent Garden performance of Faust (1863), Belcore, Peter the Great (L’étoile du Nord), Count Rodolfo (La sonnambula) and W. A. Mozart's Figaro. His début at the Paris Opéra was in 1861 as Julien (Józef Poniatowski's Pierre de Médicis); there he created Pedro in Massé's La mule de Pedro (1863), Nélusko in L᾽Africaine (1865), Posa in Don Carlos (1867) and the title role in Thomas’ Hamlet (1868; see colour plate 10), also singing Méphistophélès in the first performance at the Opéra of Faust (1869). In 1870 he sang Lothario in the first London performance of Mignon at Her Majesty's Theatre. Returning to Covent Garden (1871–5), he sang Hamlet, Caspar (Der Freischütz). Cacico (Il Guarany), Lothario and Assur (Semiramide). He sang Don Giovanni at the first performance of Mozart's opera given at the new Palais Garnier (1875), and then created Charles VII in Auguste Mermet's Jeanne d᾽Arc (1876). He retired from the stage in 1886. Although he possessed a fine, resonant, even and extensive voice, Faure was chiefly notable for the innate musicality and stylishness of his singing and for his great gifts as an actor. He taught singing at the Paris Conservatoire from 1857 to 1860 and published two books on the art of singing. His voice can be heard on a private cylinder recorded in Milan (c 1897–9), singing ‘Jardins d᾽Alcazar’ from La favorite.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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