Henri Larrivée


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(b Lyons, 9 Jan 1737; d Paris, 7 Aug 1802). French baritone. At first a singer in the Opéra chorus, he began his career as a soloist in 1755 when he played a High Priest in Jean-Philippe Rameau's Castor et Pollux; later he sang Jupiter and finally Pollux. Apart from other roles in operas of Rameau and Jean-Baptiste Lully, he created Ricimer in F.-A. Philidor's Ernelinde (1767) and the title role in F.-J. Gossec's Sabinus (1773). For C. W. Gluck he created Agamemnon (in Iphigénie en Aulide, 1774), Hercules (in Alceste, 1776), Ubalde (in Armide, 1777) and Orestes (in Iphigénie en Tauride, 1779); he also played Orestes in Niccolò Piccinni's Iphigénie (1781), A.-E.-M. Grétry's Andromaque (1780) and J.-B Lemoyne's Electre (1782). He venerated Gluck (although the composer criticized his acting) and overcame a lack of sympathy with Piccinni to sing Roland with such success as to give rise to Nicolas Framery's ‘Epître à M. Larrivée’ (Journal de Paris, 4 February 1778). Subsequently he created Danaus in Antonio Salieri's Les Danaïdes (1784). He last appeared as Agamemnon in 1797. He had a wide range and a flexible voice which, according to F.-J. Fétis and others, became nasal on high notes.


From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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