Georges Imbart de la Tour

20 May 1865, Paris – September 1911, Paris
After studying in the literary and scientific fields (bachelier ès lettres et ès sciences), Imbart de la Tour went to the military academy of St. Cyr. Due to illness, he could not complete his studies to become an officer. He studied singing at the Paris conservatory in 1887 with Maestro de Bax de Saint-Yves. In 1889, Imbart de la Tour graduated winning a first prize for singing and a second prize for Opéra-Comique.

After making his debut at Geneva (Grand Théâtre) in Les huguenots in 1890, singing there in the first performances of Werther, Winkelried by Louis Lacombe (1818–1884, see picture left) premiered posthumously on February 17, 1892, and Die Walküre.

After Geneva, Imbart de la Tour made his his debut at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. There he sang roles like José (debut role September 19, 1894), and Gérald.

Noël et Soullig in Les annales du théâtre et de la musique wrote: Mr. Imbart de la Tour made quite a good debut as José in Carmen.
The following season (1895), Imbart de la Tour sang in Monte-Carlo, Nice and Marseille.

In 1897, he was hired by the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Bruxelles. Imbart de la Tour developed his career at the Monnaie until 1904 singing Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, Walter, Radames, Roméo, Samson and Jean. There, he took part in the first Monnaie performances of Fervaal (March 12, 1897), Rheingold, Jean-Michel by Albert Dupuis (1 March 1877 – 19 September 1967, picture right) in 1903 with Claire Friché, Henri Dangès, Édouard Cotreuil; and Tijl Ulenspiegel by Jan Blockx (25 January 1851 – 26 May 1912, picture left) on January 18, 1900.

A critic wrote, regarding the premiere of Jean-Michel: Mr. Imbart de la Tour, whom Bruxelles stole already for eight years from Paris, created a sensitive and simple character, an important role; he sang with a sure ample voice with consummate art and conversational warmth.
Imbart de la Tour made guest appearances at the Opéra-Comique (first perfomance there of Fervaal on May 10, 1898 with Jeanne Raunay, Sé Beyle, Daumbel, Messager), 1900 at Covent Garden (Radames, José, Faust and Tannhäuser).
Regarding Fervaal, the critic Adolphe Julien wrote: Mr Imbart de la Tour, who created the role in Bruxelles, sings it in Paris and will be, we must say, difficult to replace. He sings the difficult role of Fervaal with an incredible stamina.
During the 1900-1 season, he was hired by the Met, but sang only Radames in Aida and two Sunday Night Concerts.

In 1901 and 1909, Imbart de la Tour sang highlights of Die Walküre at the Concerts Colonne with Jeanne Rauney. In 1901, he sang, with the conductor Camille Chevillard, highlights from act 3 of Siegfried with Alba Chrétien-Vaguet and Gerville-Réache.

Imbart de la Tour sang also in the French provinces, creating for example the role of Messour in Maïda by André Bloch (14 January 1873, Wissembourg – 7 August 1960, Paris) in September 1909 with Geneviève Vix, Georgette Bréjean-Silver an Henri Dangès at Aix-les-Bains.

Félicien Grétry in Musica wrote, regarding the creation of Maïda: Monsieur Imbart de la Tour as Messour was perfection for his singing and artistic intelligence. What a powerful, clear, flexible voice! Here is a true fort ténor, whose high notes are nowadays incomparable for their strength and purity. The famous creator of Fervaal, the professor at the conservatory is one of the great artists of today. He just proved it beyond doubt.
In 1910, Imbart de la Tour sang the final scene of Siegfried with Agnès Borgo at the Camille Chevillard Concerts.

He was appointed professor at the Paris conservatory in 1909, a post he only kept for two years, as he died suddenly at his château at Bouillon in the Belgian Ardennes in September 1911.
References: Kutsch and Riemens
Le Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Rubini Records RS 302, liner notes
Jules Martin Nos artistes du théâtre & concerts, 1985 & 1901/2 Editions (both editions give different dates for his Opéra-Comique debut
Serge Chèze & Ramiro Dos Santos 80 ans d'opéra en France 105 biographies de chanteurs, private issue

Georges Imbart de la Tour singsLohengrin: Aux bords lointains
In RA format

Georges Imbart de la Tour singsLes huguenots: Plus blanche que la blanche hermine
In RA format

Georges Imbart de la Tour singsIphigénie en Tauride: Unis dès la plus tendre enfance
In RA format

Georges Imbart de la Tour singsLa muette de Portici: Du pauvre seul ami fidèle
In RA format

Georges Imbart de la Tour singsSigurd: Esprits gardiens
In RA format

Georges Imbart de la Tour singsTannhäuser: Reine d'amour
In RA format
I wish to thank Gilles Bresciani for the recordings (Muette, Huguenots, Iphigénie).
Pathé cylinders & discs, Paris 1903?
0268 Pensée d'automne (Massenet)                                    0268
0269 Manon (Massenet): Ah fuyez, douce image                        0269
0270 Heureux vagabond (Bruneau)                                     0270
0271 Iphigénie en Tauride (Gluck): Air de Pylade                    0271
0272 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner): Couplets de Walther   0272
0273 Tannhäuser (Wagner): Hymne à Vénus                             0273
0277 La muette de Portici (Auber): Cavatine du sommeil              0277

Pathé, Paris 1906/1907
4580 Die Walküre (Wagner): Chanson du printemps                     4580
4581 Lohengrin (Wagner): Récit du Graal                             4581
4582 Werther (Massenet): Pourquoi me réveiller                      4582
4583 Le Cid (Massenet): Prière                                      4583
4584 Hérodiade (Massenet): Air de Jean                              4584
4585 Les huguenots (Meyerbeer): Plus blanche que la blanche hermine 4585
4586 Sigurd (Reyer): Esprits gardiens                               4586

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