(b Paris, 17 Dec 1815; d Paris, 12 Sept 1879). French tenor. He entered the Paris Conservatoire in 1836 as a pupil of Blès Martin and won premiers prix in singing and in opéra comique the following year. In 1838 he made his début as Georges in Fromental Halévy's L’éclair at the Opéra-Comique, where he subsequently created a number of roles written for him by Halévy, Daniel Auber and Ambroise Thomas. His success rested on his considerable intelligence, fine bearing and pure tone. In 1846 he sang Faust in the first performance of Hector Berlioz's La damnation de Faust, and in 1848 he moved from the Opéra-Comique to the Opéra, where, in 1849, he created the role of Jean de Leyde in Giacomo Meyerbeer's Le prophète. Although his voice was too light for such parts, he had enormous success and continued to sing a number of leading tenor roles at the Opéra. He successfully toured Germany on several occasions. His most celebrated partners were Jenny Lind and Pauline Viardot, and he enjoyed the friendship of Berlioz, Meyerbeer and many literary figures. In 1859 he sang in Félicien David's Herculanum at the Opéra, but shortly afterwards he lost his right arm in a shooting accident. For some years he continued to appear on stage with a mechanical arm, at the Opéra-Comique and in the provinces, and from 1868 until his death he was a professor of singing at the Conservatoire. His book Le carnet d'un ténor (1880) contains lively memories of his career, including an account of his visits to England in 1847 and 1848. In 1861 Berlioz orchestrated Franz Schubert's Erlkönig for him.
From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.