Jean Giraudeau

1 July 1916 Toulon – 7 February 1995 Paris

Jean Giraudeau singsSnegurochka: Nature auguste et douce
Both his mother and his father taught at the Toulon conservatory, and that's also wher he completed his studies in chant, violoncello and organ. His debut as a tenor followed in 1942 in Montpellier (as Frédéric in Mignon).

After a few years in the provinces, he arrived at the Op&ecaute;ra-Comique as well as the Opéra in 1947 (debut roles: Nadir and Tamino, respectively), where he developed into one of the foremost lyrical French tenors of his generation. He spent the entire long rest of his career at the two Paris opera houses, and even served as the Opéra-Comique's director from 1968 to 1971). Outside Paris, he appeared in Monte Carlo, Nice, Marseille, Brussels, and at the Moscow Bolshoj, where he sang Lenskij, no less!

His repertory was enormous: 135 roles! Pedrillo, Don Ottavio, Ferrando, Almaviva, Duca, Alfredo, Erik, David, Shujskij, des Grieux, Nicias, Gérald, Pinkerton, Bacchus, Ruprecht (Ognennyj angel), Chévalier de la Force (Dialogues des carmélites), plus lots of rarities, plus lots of world premieres. He also did a lot of radio work, notably Énée in Les Troyens on the BBC in 1947. (I have a hard time figuring a tenorino like Giraudeau sing Énée, Erik or Bacchus. Of course, today we're used to such extravagances; just one example, I've heard John Osborn as Arrigo, which was certainly bizarre even for the standards of "opera singers" who cannot do without a microphone on stage. But at Giraudeau's time, there were tenors around like Guy Chauvet or Gustave Botiaux...)

Giraudeau sang into the 1980s (only in concert in the last years). From 1955 to 1985, he was also a professor at the Paris conservatory.

Reference 1: Kutsch & Riemens; reference 2 and picture source

Toulon, season 1943/44
I wish to thank Christian Torrent for the broadside.

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