(b Paris, 14 Dec 1897; d Paris, 17 Oct 1984). French tenor. After two years’ study at the Paris Conservatoire, and two more in Naples with Fernando De lucia, he sang Don José and other roles at the Opéra-Comique before making his début as Nicias in Thaïs in 1924 at the Opéra. There he stayed for 16 years, graduating from the lighter French repertory, including Marouf, Jean (Hérodiade), Roland (Esclaramonde), Raoul (Les Huguenots), to Admetus (Alceste) and Aeneas (Les Troyens à Carthage) Walther, Lohengrin, Parsifal, Tannhäuser,Arnold (Guillaume Tell), and later Samson. At La Scala and Verona he sang Calaf; Buenos Aires invited him for Don Carlos, Calaf and Arrigo Boito's Faust. He also sang at the Metropolitan Opera in 1931 and 1932, where his first role, Romeo, was followed by Radames, Charles Gounod's Faust and Sadko; in Vienna, and at Covent Garden where he made his début in 1928 as Samson, returning as Don José (1937). He bade farewell to the stage at the Opéra-Comique as Canio, as late as 1953. With his brilliant, robust tone, his spirited phrasing and aristocratic enunciation, Thill was the most distinguished French heroic tenor of his time. His recordings of such roles as Admetus, Werther and Gounod's Roméo set standards and kept alive a tradition of singing which would otherwise have vanished. He also appeared in several films, the most interesting of which is Abel Gance's Louise with Grace Moore (1938).
From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.